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12.03.2009 Football News

Huge crowds welcome DR Congo team


Huge crowds gathered to welcome the DR Congo team as they returned from winning the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Ivory Coast.

The official police estimate was that one million people lined the road from Kinshasa's airport to the city centre on Wednesday, though the figure may well have been higher.

The previous day the team were in Goma in the east of the country (pictured above), where the players were honoured by President Joseph Kabila.

He gave each player and member of the technical team a car and promised them an undisclosed sum of money.

"This cup is for the whole 65 million Congolese citizens, that is why the country must reward you for winning," President Kabila told the players.

"Winning this cup is a good sign for the country and it shows that the country will be much better this year since you win it weeks after the end of war in the east of our country."

Many Congolese view the winning of the CHAN trophy as a significant achievement as the Leopards have been going through a lean spell of late.

DR Congo beat favourites Ghana 2-0 in the CHAN final in Abidjan in the new tournament where national teams may only field locally-based players.