Poor boy's determination to buy new football touches hearts

Poor boy's determination to buy new football touches hearts
A photo shows 8-year-old Abdehailk giving a wad of 1 yuan (S$0.20) notes to his teacher to buy him a football.
PHOTO: Weibo

A Xinjiang boy's love for football has touched the hearts of many people, the Beijing Youth Daily reports.

Sports teacher Abdenabijan put a post on social network WeChat on May 12 about a young student who presented him with a stack of 1 yuan (S$0.20) notes and asked him to buy a new football.

The teacher at Er'cun Primary School in BoxErik township in Yecheng county, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, said the grade two student had saved up for several months.

One of the pictures shows 8-year-old Abdehailk grinning with a wad of wrinkled money in his hand.

"I am so moved. I hope to see more kids who love football," the teacher posted on his WeChat account.

The story was shared by many web users and became a hot topic on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service.

A stack of small notes saved by the boy over several months.
Photo: Weibo

A post about the boy's efforts, published by China Football Report on Weibo received nearly 50,000 likes and about 3,000 comments, with a lot of people expressing their willingness to help the boy.

Abdenabijan said the boy asked him several months ago how much it cost to buy a new football. Not taking it seriously at the time, he told him it cost 30 to 40 yuan and promised to help the boy buy one if he had enough money.

The teacher thought nothing more about the conversation until the boy came back to him recently with 39 yuan.

"When he gave the money to me, he was so happy. It seemed like a dream had come true".

"This has touched me deeply because I realised I have underestimated the kids' enthusiasm for football."

Abdnabijan said he founded a school football team four years ago, but due to his heavy workload running multiple courses including Chinese, science and physical education, the training became less and less frequent and the football team was put aside.

According to Abdnabijan, the school has 480 students and only 23 teachers.

Teacher Abdenabijan with his enthusiastic student Abdehailk.
Photo: Weibo

As the first PE teacher at the school, Abdnabijan said not having a decent football ground and jerseys and boots were major difficulties.

Abdnabijan used some of his salary to buy make-shift jerseys for the students and turned an open space into a pitch.

Although the field was bumpy, he said "the kids love playing football and they enjoy each PE class so much that they never want to be dismissed."

The boy's story touched many people on the web.

Among them was Dong Lu, a well-known football commentator. Dong managed to contact the teacher, promising to buy football gear for the students and help set up football teams in the other schools in the township.

He also proposed to film a documentary about football-loving kids in the southern part of Xinjiang.

"I myself have a special affection for football. After seeing the wrinkled money the boy handed to his teacher, I decided to help them."

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