(ECNS) -- Sonam Puncog and his Gesar King football teammates traveled over 1,600 kilometers from Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Northwest China's Qinghai Province to participate in the Village Super League, or "Cun Chao" in Chinese, in Rongjiang County, Southwest China's Guizhou Province on Friday.
More than 50,000 fans turned up at the site to watch their match.
The average altitude in Golog Prefecture is over 4,200 meters, but it didn't hinder local people's love for football. In 2006, with assistance from local government, the Gesar King football team was established.
Sonam Puncog jokingly remarks that playing football in the Village Super League feels very familiar since the Gesar King football team members come from various professions, including police officers, rural officials, healthcare workers, civil servants, teachers, and students, just like the players in the Village Super league of Rongjiang.
Moreover, both teams consist of players from different ethnic backgrounds, such as Tibetan, Dong, Miao, and other ethnic groups. "Football knows no profession; if you love it, you play it. Players from different ethnicities on the field all enjoy the same sporting happiness," he said.
Before the start of the competition, dressed in Tibetan costumes and holding pure white Hadas in their hands, Sonam Puncog and his teammates walked into the center of the field. They raised the Hadas high, and tens of thousands of spectators shouted in unison: Tashi Delek (Tibetan phrase for "hello").
The match between the two teams ended in a 2-2 draw. As the players from both teams shook hands, colorful fireworks lit up the sky above the football field. Everyone embraced each other and cheered for football.
Sonam Puncog mentioned that there are many amateur football matches in Golog, and a great number of young people who enjoy playing. He believes that organizing football events at the village level can enhance the enthusiasm of local residents, and foster a love for football among the youth.
Since the 1990s, rural football matches in Rongjiang have never ceased. The football field has become a must-visit joyful place each weekend. The people of Rongjiang spontaneously designate every Saturday as "Village Super" - a super Saturday night of rural football.