Jiangxi Province and Akto County, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang have been supporting each other for 27 years. Both places are famous football towns in the country and have a strong football atmosphere.

On the occasion of the Spring Festival this year, Jiangxi Province invited more than 30 ethnic minority children from Kezhou, Xinjiang, to Nanchang, Jiangxi, Dingnan, Ganzhou and other places to form a football winter camp with local children.

Pair up to celebrate the New Year together and play a hearty football match together.

  What kind of sparks will be created when teenagers and children from the two places compete on the green field?

How are the children enjoying the Chinese New Year in Jiangxi?

Our main station reporters also flew to Xinjiang and Jiangxi to record this football appointment that spanned 5,000 kilometers.

Selima: A young football player from the plateau

  In early February, in Akto County, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, which is located at the eastern foot of the Pamir Plateau, the temperature was only minus 7 degrees Celsius. The female football players of the local Qike Village Primary School were surrounded by 13-year-old Selima Karri. Under the leadership of the team, they are training intensively on the playground to prepare for the upcoming trip to Jiangxi.

  Among this group of female football players with an average age of 13 years old, the short Selima Karzhi is the captain. She often plays the role of midfielder on the court and has always been a key figure in controlling the rhythm on the court.

It was only three years ago that she became involved with football. By chance, Selima watched a senior men's football match. The moment she saw the players celebrating a goal, she felt the passion for the first time. The joy of football.

However, her primary school in Qike Village did not have a girls’ football team at the time.

  Elsidine Aniwa, assistant coach of the girls’ football team at Qike Village Primary School: There were several girls on the playground at that time. They just watched the boys playing football every day, and then they told us that they wanted to go to the playground to play and practice. One practice.

Later, I discussed with another coach that we should set up a women’s football team because our national women’s football team is also very famous.

  Selima successfully became the first team member of the women's football team, but at that time Selima was thin and only a member of the bench, with few opportunities to play.

But she was not discouraged. Whether on the way to school or during recess, Selima would play kicks whenever she had time.

  During the interview, Selima revealed that her favorite football star is Wang Shuang, the ace midfielder of the Chinese women’s football team, and she is determined to be like Wang Shuang and join the national team as soon as possible.

  Selima Karzhi: I hope to enter the national team. Every time I watch the game on my mobile phone or in person, I have an indescribable feeling in my heart. Anyway, I really want to play.

  February 5th was the day when Selima and her team members set off. Before dawn, they packed their bags and headed to the airport. Their destination was Jiangxi, which they had never been to before.

  After arriving in Nanchang, Selima carried out research activities with more than 30 teenagers from Kezhou.

Afterwards, they took the high-speed train non-stop to their destination—Dingnan County, Ganzhou City.

Lai Miaomiao: Hope to move from a small mountainous county to a broad future

  The skinny Selima has loved and loved football since she was a child. Through her own efforts, everyone has seen her perseverance and determination.

Next, we are going to Dingnan County, Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, the destination of Selima. We will also get to know a young women’s football player. She is Lai Miaomiao of the women’s football team of Dingnan No. 3 Middle School. Let’s see how her story is different from Selima’s. What about?

  On the eve of the Spring Festival, 14-year-old Lai Miaomiao had just returned from a training camp in Kunming, Yunnan. Before she could take a break, she immediately went back to intensive training for the Dingnan women's football team.

  Lai Miaomiao, a member of the girls' football team of Dingnan No. 3 Middle School: I come to the football base to practice for two hours until dark. When it gets dark, I turn on the lights at the base and continue practicing.

  Lai Miaomiao plays the main defender in the team and is also a key role in the team. He has led the team to win multiple provincial and municipal championships.

Talking about the fate with football, it originated in 2017 when Dingnan County selected good football prospects among primary school students in the county.

At that time, Lai Miaomiao, who was lively and active, participated in the selection with the idea of ​​giving it a try. Unexpectedly, she accidentally ranked first in the sprint speed test and successfully joined the first local women's football team.

  Not long after his passion for football was ignited, Lai Miaomiao's football career was put on pause due to family issues.

  Lai Miaomiao's mother Liu Xiaoyin: Her father was working outside, and I happened to be pregnant with my second child at that time, and I was pregnant with twins.

I didn’t dare to ride a motorcycle and didn’t have time to pick her up. I told her that you should stop playing football for a year.

  Later, her mother gave birth successfully, during which the team coach repeatedly invited Lai Miaomiao to return to the team.

At this time, Lai Miaomiao's love for football was rekindled.

  Tackles, dribbling, passing, passing... At the training site, the young football players sweated to their heart's content.

Lai Miaomiao and his team members overcame obstacles all the way, using hard training and strong will to win multiple national, provincial and municipal competition championships.

  Ye Shengning, Director of Dingnan County Football Integrated Development Service Center: We have built nearly 20 national youth campus football specialty schools and kindergartens, and the proportion of students participating in football has exceeded 50%.

  As the Spring Festival approaches, Lai Miaomiao's family took the initiative to sign up for a job pairing up with friends from Xinjiang.

Lai Miaomiao took matters into her own hands and made small gifts for the Xinjiang children who were about to visit her home. When she learned that the pairing partner was Selima, Lai Miaomiao also had a video call with Selima in advance to prepare for the New Year celebration together.

Playing football to celebrate the Spring Festival "We are like family"

  On February 8, this football match spanning 5,000 kilometers finally kicked off, and both sides were looking forward to exchanging ideas on the green field.

  With a whistle, the friendly match between Xinjiang Kezhou and Jiangxi Dingnan football teams officially kicked off.

After a game, the team members have long forgotten the cold and wet conditions of the rainy day and have established friendship in the football game.

  Women's football team captain Selima Karri: I haven't played enough. Being able to meet more new friends, compete, learn from each other's skills, and learn each other's strengths can help us grow quickly.

  Lai Miaomiao, a player of the women's football team of Dingnan No. 3 Middle School: I think our playing methods and styles are still different. Their spirit is worth learning. We must learn from their perseverance.

  The next day is the New Year's Eve. Early in the morning, the century-old enclosed house "Ming Yuandi" in Lishi Town, Dingnan County is decorated with lights and colorful. The local special New Year program - dragon dance and auspicious lion New Year greetings are being held lively. More than 60 teenagers and children, including Lai Miaomiao and Selima, paired up to watch special folk performances together.

  The children worked together to experience the traditional Hakka food making process - making glutinous rice cakes. They also tasted local specialties such as gray rice dumplings, sour wine duck, and blanched skin.

Entering the hospital, intangible cultural heritage projects such as paper-cutting, Hakka bell hats, and Dingnan brown weaving attracted children to actively participate.

Kezhou, Xinjiang, and friends from Jiangxi wrote the Chinese character "Fu" together, hung lanterns, made dumplings, and had a lively "long table feast."

  In the evening, children from Kezhou, Xinjiang were invited to visit the families of local children who were paired up. Kezhou women’s football team captain Selima Karri and Dingnan women’s football player Lai Miaomiao formed a pair. They chatted about their daily life at home and had a reunion dinner together. , celebrate traditional festivals together.

  Liu Xiaoyin, Lai Miaomiao’s mother: Selima Karri came from such a far away place to come to our house to celebrate the Spring Festival. This is a kind of fate, and I attach great importance to this fate.

Especially like me, I have been in Xinjiang for a year and a half, and I am in Aktao. I am very affectionate to that place. I am very happy that she can come to my house to celebrate the New Year.

  After the New Year's Eve dinner, Selima, who is good at singing and dancing, gave Lai Miaomiao a hat brought from home and led her to dance the Xinjiang dance together.

  After the New Year's Eve dinner, Selima and Lai Miaomiao came to the football base to watch the Spring Festival Gala together. Before they started watching, there was a huge surprise waiting for Selima and her friends.

  It turned out that the reporter learned that Selima's favorite Wang Shuang in the women's football team, and after much coordination along the way, finally before New Year's Eve, Wang Shuang, who was playing football in the UK, took the time to record a short New Year's greeting video.

Seeing her idol wishing her New Year's greetings on the screen, Selima shed tears of excitement.

  Selima Kage: This time it is a dream come true. I am really happy and excited.

I also want to be someone like Sister Wang Shuang. I am really grateful to Sister Wang Shuang.

I will work hard in the future and strive to enter the national team.

Meet on the green field and pursue football dreams together

  This Spring Festival should be remembered by both groups of children for a long time and become their beautiful memories.

Although they come from different places and different families, their stories about football are all similar, and they are all constantly pursuing their dreams.

Thanks to the organizers of the two places for having such a wonderful game while the children are growing up.

  Lai Miaomiao taught Selima calligraphy, and Selima took Miaomiao to dance the Xinjiang dance. Because of this football trip that spanned thousands of miles, the children gained a wonderful friendship and developed a team to work side by side on the road to pursuing their dreams. Friends, we hope there will be more exchange activities like this to help more children’s dreams.

  (Headquarters reporter Xie Yuansen, Zhang Qibin, Yi Wentao, Cao Zixiao, and Li Zheng)