THERE were wild scenes of jubilation at Durban International Airport yesterday when Lamontville Golden Arrows arrived home with the MTN8 trophy.
Abafana Bes'thende were crowned MTN8 champions in style when they walloped Ajax Cape Town 6-0 a fortnight ago.
Sounds of vuvuzelas, ululation and whistles echoed through the airport. Hundreds of supporters, many carrying political party banners, had gathered at the arrivals terminal to welcome the team.
Fans began arriving at the airport early in the morning, though Arrows were only expected at 10am.
Senior government and ANC leaders were among the crowd who welcomed their soccer heroes.
They included premier Zweli Mkhize, MEC for sports and recreation Weziwe Thusi, eThekwini mayor Obed Mlaba, municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe, speaker James Nxumalo, SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu and ANC eThekwini region chairperson John Mchunu.
As soon as the team landed at the airport, led by its director Mato Madlala, with captain Joseph Musonda holding the trophy sky-high, supporters went wild.
Arrows have ended the province's trophy drought, which lasted from 1994.
Coach Manqoba Mngqithi said: "We are overwhelmed by the support, it is something we weren't expecting. It's a good feeling to see how the people of the province appreciate our victory."
Abafana Bes'thende then held a victory parade in KwaMashu, Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi, Lamontville and finally through the streets of Durban.
The official celebration of the win was later hosted by the City of Durban.