"World Cup" in Yunnan Every Day


In Longnai Village, Cangyuan Va Autonomous County, Lincang City, Yunnan Province, there is a group of farmers who are passionate about playing football: they do farm work and feed cattle during the day, and change into their football uniforms to play football from evening till night. Among them are farmers, steel workers and tea farmers... Although they have different jobs, they all love football in particular.


In the early years, the conditions were poor. When villagers found a flat grassland, they used a few bamboos to build a simple goal and played with mineral water bottles, with bare feet and sandals since there was no football and boots. Even under such conditions, they played heartily and happily. People who love to play football in Longnai Village have also grown from a few people at the beginning to hundreds of people today.


In 2003, Longnai Village established its own football team, with Bao Zhikun, who has loved football since childhood, as the first captain. With the support of the village, he led the team to participate in competitions to fight for honor for their village. 


In 2016, Bao Aigai took over the responsibility of the captain. Three years later, in the football match organized by the county, this amateur football team, which was not expected before the match, won the championship by virtue of their good physical fitness and tactical cooperation. This is the first championship trophy won by the Longnai Village football team since its establishment in 2003.

The villagers said that Longnai Village became famous because of football. In fact, this is inseparable from Bao Zhikun’s efforts, the "first football player" in the village, who was also the first captain of the Longnai Village football team. After the establishment of the football team, in order to raise funds, Bao Zhikun and his players did part-time jobs like moving stones to support the team's operations. In the next few years, he led the team to play many games, but this team never won a championship. Which was Bao Zhikun's biggest regret.


With the long-cherished wish of the old captain, Bao Aigai led players to carry out physical and technical training every day, and finally led the team to win the county football championship three years later. On the day of receiving the award, Bao Zhikun rushed from the construction site and was elected as the representative, he was holding the trophy above his head.


Influenced by the great atmosphere, there are gradually more children in the village who love to play football. In recent years, many college students have come out of the village. Some of them majored in physical education and returned home to become football coaches after graduation. When football games hold here, more and more villagers are willing to come and cheer for the players, and they also pay their own money to provide various guarantees for the players to participate in the competition. A villager named Zhao Zhiyang said, "We don't rest until we are tired! Since our living standards have improved, we have more time and energy to pursue our hobbies."


In 2020, with the support of the government, a standard futsal field was built here, and the villagers no longer had to look around for a flat field to play football. In order to play longer, they raised money to install eight lights for the field. At night, here has become the most popular place. There are also other teams that come to play football. On weekends, this is a place "hard to get a ticket".


"Let's play football!" In the evening, there will always be such a voice in the football WeChat group of more than 200 people in Longnai Village. When the eight lights on the football field were turned on, the field gradually became lively. After a busy day of work, the wonderful life gathered together because football began again.

From the first few players who fought hard all the way to the whole field, to now more than 70 people taking turns to play, talking about tactics and cooperation, Long Nai Village's football is becoming more and more standardized. Bao Zhikun has another dream now: "I hope that one day, someone from our Longnai Village will go out of Cangyuan, out of Yunnan, and even represent China in football matches!"

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(Editors: Amy,Ines)

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