Feature: A Xinjiang girl chases her football dream

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-01 16:27:05|Editor: Lifang
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URUMQI, China, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Millions of kids in the world dream to become Cristiano Ronaldo. But Uyghur girl Kalbinur Abduhalik is not one of them. She has even never seen a live game of the Real Madrid legend.

Kalbinur lives in Sukaidun village of Xinjiang, which is a small spot on the edge of Taklamakan Desert on a high-res map of China. Although the old-fashioned TVs which have been used for several years there can receive sports channels, few children in village have the chance to stay up all night watching a football match.

In this village full of desert dust, children love playing football. But most of the time, this is a boy's privilege.

Kalbinur tried to join them several times, but she was always laughed at and pushed away.

Despite these setbacks, Kalbinur's determination remained unshakable. In a small yard at her home, she gathered farm tools at the corner and made use of bricks for goalposts and invited some of her girlfriends to play with her.

The place is so tiny and the ground so uneven that passing and dribbling can cause going out of bounds easily, but this does not upset the girls.

In the eyes of coach Mamatjan Omar, Kalbinur has something special. "Kalbinur has a particular touch and fantastic skills," he said.

Compared with many current players from Latin America who started their careers on the dusty street pitches, Kalbinur is lucky. Her middle school team enjoys a beautiful new artificial pitch.

Since 2011, a large number of schools in Xinjiang have received funding to build standard football pitches, and her alma mater, Hetan Forth Middle School is one of them. In the southern region of Xinjiang with less rain, such a standard pitch has a longer life expectancy than would be seen in a wetter area.

Kalbinur took a while to establish herself on the middle school team, but when she did, the goals flowed from her feet. On the pitch, Kalbinur is a complete midfielder who can do everything, she can run, defend, make an assist or score with a terrific shot from long distance.

After returning to China from a training stint in France, coach Mamatjan showed videos of spectacular matches every weekend to his players, and that gave Kalbinur a chance to know Cristiano Ronaldo.

After seeing match videos of the Portuguese star, Kalbinur inevitably found herself mesmerised by the gilded white jerseys of Real Madrid, and she even insists that her dribbling is like that of Ronaldo.

She has already gone from playing in a small yard to the pitches of several football summer camps around China, but Kalbinur is not about to stop.

She will take her senior high school entrance examination in a few months. She plans to apply for a high school that will give her a chance to study and live in big cities in future.

Acquaintances are waiting to see if the 15-year-old Xinjiang girl with all the dreams in the world will make another one come true.