(ECNS) -- A village super league was held in Rongjiang County, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province on Saturday evening, which is so down-to-earth but popular that it has attracted the attention of football legend Michael Owen, who recorded a video to show his support.
“I want to say congratulations to 'Cun Chao' for all your success, for getting all the good results in football and I wish 'Cun Chao' all the very best for the future. I'm sure you're gonna get better and better," he said.
The village super league, which will continue until July, has attracted 20 teams to participate.
These football players have a variety of backgrounds. They are vendors, bosses, drivers, students, carpenters, tilers, former butchers, and those who have worked in brick factories. The players come from various ethnic groups such as Miao, Dong, Shui, Han, and Yao. Their ages range from 15 to over 40 years old.
According to statistics, the match on Saturday attracted nearly 50,000 spectators. Among the sea of people, ladders became the preferred tool for obtaining the best viewing angle. The atmosphere on-site was extremely intense, to the extent that the well-known Chinese commentator Han Qiaosheng had to climb a ladder to provide commentary.
The atmosphere of the event exceeded expectations, Han said, adding that even though he has traveled around the world to report on various competitions, including the World Cup and Olympics, he finds the village super league in Rongjiang is really different, because the matches are so down-to-earth.
The football field has become a joyful gathering place that villager visits on weekends. Local residents have designated Saturday “Super Saturday Rural Football Night.”
Before matches, representatives from each village team, dressed in traditional ethnic costumes, carry local specialties on their shoulders, play the reed pipe, and dance as they enter the field together with the local football players.
Besides the "cheerleaders" who carry local agricultural products into the venue, during halftime breaks, there are performances showcasing the Dong ethnic group's grand songs, Miao ethnic group's Lusheng dance (a traditional dance characterized by the use of the Lusheng, a reed instrument), and displays of ethnic costumes, all of which have strong local characteristics.
When the dancers and audience join hands to dance the Duoye, it ignites a carnival-like atmosphere throughout the entire venue.
In recent years, the "Village BA" in Taijiang county and the "village super league" in Rongjiang county have become popular trends, whose essence lies in the rural characteristics.
Rongjiang football has a history of more than 80 years. Today, more and more grassroots sports events held amidst mountains are using sports as a medium to showcase the unique charm of the local area, reflecting a vibrant lifestyle filled with agricultural activities and rural fun.