In a magnanimous play of skill and power the female team of SO Bharat won Silver in their very first kick off at an International event . SO Bharat was one of the six participating teams at the Special Olympics Malaysia Invitational Unified 5-A-Side Football Tournament held from 24-28 November 2017 at Kuala lumpur, Malaysia. While there was participation of one team each from SO Bharat and SO Serendib, SO Malaysia and SO Indonesia pitched in two

Composition of the SO Bharat Team

The SO Bharat contingent of 10 comprised of 6 Athletes and 2 Unified Partners led by Monali Kargaokar Head Coach and Samantha D’Costa , Head of Delegation

Sr. no. Name of the Participants Designation
1.         ALCIA ANTAO Athlete
2.         TANAWI RANE Athlete
3.         SHANTI FLORINDA NAIR Athlete
4.         LAXMI PAVANE Athlete
5.         AKANSHA MHATRE Athlete
6.         PRAJAKTA MOHITE Athlete
7.         LINDA CALADO Partner
8.         JOLITA BRAGANCA Partner
9.         MONALI KORGAOKAR Head Coach
10.      SAMANTHA D’COSTA Head of Delegation


On 24 November all the six teams converged at the welcome dinner hosted by SO Malaysia. Nur Azida Daud, SO Malaysia Board Chair on behalf of the Board Members Prof. Dr. Zamri Radzi,  SO Kuala Lumpur President Dato Daut Ahmad, and Honarary Secretary Delila Daud welcomed the teams, while personally reaching out to all the guests. Mr Coen Van Putten, Senior Sports Development Manager and Mr Amran Siregar, Specialist, Sports Development from the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Regional office were present at the event.

A Coaches meeting followed, outlining the rules & regulations of the game vis-à-vis the Unified partners, ground/ball size, positioning of players etc.

The Opening ceremony was held on the 25th with a Special Athlete from Malaysia leading the Athlete’s Oath in English and Malay

Football Competitions

Football Competitions were held on 25 and 26 November 2017 at the Pedang B ground . Since there were 6 teams 2 divisions were formed and the League system was followed. In Div A – SO Serendib, SO Malaysia A and SO Indonesia A and Div B – SO Bharat, SO Malaysia B and SO Indonesia B.

On day one SO Bharat played two matches against SO Malaysia B, the final score begin 2:0. The goals were scored by Linda Calado as one was a pass by Shanti Nair. Later in the day SO Bharat played against Indonesia B, while Tanawi Rane tried her shot during the corner and ball bounced off giving Linda an opportunity to convert a goal in the in the 1st half. An equalizer from the Indonesia B was converted in the 2nd half. There were countless strikes on the opponent’s goal, Linda Scored the brass giving SO Bharat the lead points in the tournament

In Div A SO Indonesia A team ranked 1st followed by SO Malaysia A and in 3rd place SO Serendib. In Div B SO Bharat in lead with 6 points stood 1st followed by SO Indonesia B and 3rd place were SO Malaysia B.

The draw was declared in the morning of the 26th of November by the SO Asia Pacific team and Malaysia organizers. The semi finals started around 8:00am at the UM Arena. 1st match was played Indonesia A V/Indonesia B team, while the second semi finals was played between, SO Bharat V/s SO Malaysia A. SO Bharat with a comfortable win of 2-0 over SO Malaysia A team and booked a birth in the finals against Indonesia B team.

For the finals, a closely fought match as both sides made attempts on goal. At half-time, the result stood at 0-0 but the Indonesia B managed to score a goal in the last few seconds of the match 0-1 and was declared the winners of the tournament. Special Olympics Bharat was awarded the Silver medal followed by Indonesia A team securing the Bronze Medal. At fourth place stood SO Malaysia A team, Fifth place –SO Malaysia B team and sixth place was secured by SO Serendib (Sri Lanka).

Akansha Mhatre, Athlete, about her experience “ I enjoyed a lot, played well and made friends. Malaysia is beautiful.

Jolita Braganca , Unified Partner: “It was a great experience being with them since the Chennai camp and it was the first time I got to travel aboard. I had a wish to work with the athletes for a long time and got this opportunity to experience their difficulties, problems etc. Its not only we can play, they can and have proved how much they are worth. I had a great time with athletes from other countries as well. I did my best, encouraged my team players and they in turn motivated me to strive for better.

Monali Korgaokar, Head Coach: “It was a good experience. I learned a lot from my athletes and partners. They are indeed winners and they won a lot of hearts in Malaysia. With their hard work we managed to get results

Samantha D’Costa Head Of Delegation: “I have seen these Athletes grow into a family, the way they respected each other, the way they coordinated with each other was truly mind boggling. After every match I would see the partners motivate the Athletes. The partners played exceptionally well alongside the Athletes. Seeing the coordination within the team I knew that we had already won

Info Source: Samantha D Costa

Coen Van Putten  Senior Sports Development Manager, Special Olympics Asia Pacific Region: “The event celebrated Unified Football. I have a lot of respect for the coaches who managed to create competitive teams of special and mainstream athletes, as well as for the athletes who demonstrated great spirit during the event

News Coverage on the Event

About the HOD- Samantha D Costa

Samantha D Costa , the Head of the Delegation has achieved this milestone through her perseverance and grit to excel in football along with her passion to transform the sports field into a game changing platform for the Athletes placed under her mentorship.

Since 2011, when she joined SO Bharat in Goa, she climbed the rungs refining her knowledge of the sport through the English premier League Skills Workshop and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation (THF) Coaching Clinics. In May 2014 she participated in the first THF Coaching Clinic held in Goa reaching out to more Coaches and Athletes and tuning them the Spurs way. Since then, qualifying to every subsequent level of the THF training through her participation with the other Asia Pacific Coaches in Singapore in 2015 and 2016 consecutively made her emerge a valuable resource in SO Bharat. She went through nerve wracking moments such as the one in Odisha in December 2016 and in Goa in September 2017 where her training to the participants from different parts of the country placed her under perusal of none other than the THF Coaches from UK. She stands tall in her accomplishments and commitment to reach out to more and more Coaches and Athletes to bring about ‘ Social Change through Football’ the SPURS WAY!

The personal journey of Samantha can be presented as a successful example. She has participated in every training program in India as well as in Singapore and the process has helped her develop. She has taken the content of the training to her community, and this implementation has helped her develop her skills further and really endorse what we have taught her- Dan Slaughter, Coach Development Tutor Tottenham Hotspur Foundation