African team joins village super league in exchange goal

2024-05-13 08:22:32Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A friendly soccer match between the Liberia Community Football Team and the Liaoning Donggang Football Team drew widespread attention at the Village Super League in Rongjiang county, Guizhou province, earlier this month.

It was the first time for an African team to play in the league, which is known as the cunchao in Chinese.

The league has started to gain popularity in African countries including Benin and South Africa. The connection between the cunchao and Africa has led to the beginning of a friendship between the small village and the African team and since this year, international matches have been held at the Village Super League stadium.

The visit of the 21-member Liberia Community Football Team was overseen by officials from the Liberian embassy. Moses Barclay, who has been an official at the Liberian embassy in China for eight years, saw festive league scenes in videos.

"The people here love football, and the atmosphere was impressive," says Barclay, adding that this was his first visit to Rongjiang, and that he hoped the friendly match would bring joy to fans and tourists alike.

The day before the match, the Liberians visited Ronjiang's Dali Dong village, to experience its ethnic culture, and sang songs with villagers.

"It was my first time experiencing Dong culture, which was special. The people in the village were friendly, and I was deeply touched," says Godrich Samwely, a young college student, adding that if he had the chance, he would like to visit Rongjiang again.

"This was a journey of football and friendship," says Jose Jacobs, who has played soccer for more than 20 years.

Rongjiang is home to a wealth of ethnic cultures, and the team hopes to enhance mutual exchange and understanding through soccer, Jacobs adds.

This was not the first time a Liberian team contacted the league.

Wang Yongjie, head of the new media communication department for Village Super League, says that in March and April, the league was replicated and promoted in Parakou in Benin and Cape Town in South Africa as a new model of integration and development for soccer and ethnic culture.

At the end of March, on a soccer field in Benin's Belle Cite village, where a China-assisted cotton technology project is located, 12 village teams launched the first edition of the "African Village Super League", which takes place on weekends and runs until the end of this month.

Shou Xiaoyong, head of the technical team at the project, says that the tournament not only features competitions but also includes ethnic cultural activities by villagers, including martial arts performed by Chinese agricultural experts.

At the beginning of this year, Shou returned to China on vacation and learned about the popularity of the cunchao. "After returning to Benin, I introduced the cunchao and proposed creating a local cunchao, which received a warm response," he says, adding that since the game started it has brought a lot of happiness to the villagers.

The friendly match with the Liberian team marks the beginning of the friendship between African countries and Rongjiang, says Peng Xixi, head of the operation and management department of the Village Super League.

Barclay hopes to enhance friendship through the match and strengthen mutual exchange.

"There are many countries in Africa that love to play football. Through football events, Africa can better connect and unite with Rongjiang and China," he says, adding that he hopes more Liberian teams, including the national team, will be able to play in Rongjiang.

Meanwhile, the people of Parakou also look forward to taking part in the cunchao in China. Shou says that they hope their Village Super League expands outside Africa and that they'll be able to take their teams to compete at China's Village Super League stadium.

"Over the past decade, China has promoted cotton planting technology and helped train agricultural technicians in Benin," says Shou, adding that improved living conditions have given local people more recreational needs.


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