A year 7 high school student from the Gap has become the most sought after person on the internet and idol to billions of Chinese soccer fans.
12 year-old Stephen White was a ball boy at the tense, hard fought Asian Cup match between China and Saudi Arabia at Suncorp on Saturday night. With the scores locked at nil all the Saudi team were given penalty. Just prior to the penalty kick being taken by Neif Hazazi the Chinese goal keeper, Wang Dalei, turned to Stephen, who was standing behind the goal. Dalei and asked the Stephen (himself a budding goalkeeper) which way he should dive to save the goal.
“I was very surprised,” said Stephen to reporters after the game.
“He asked if he should go left or right. I told him left because that’s the way I always go in trying to predict where the ball will go.
“I was really excited when he saved it”
And so was Dalei.
And so were Chinese football fans half a world away.
Dalei warmed the hearts of sports fans all over the world by giving Stephen a thankyou hug after the final whistle. Furthermore Stephen was invited to attend China’s Monday night training session at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre. It is rumoured Dalei may present Stephen with his jersey.
China held on to win the game 1-0 and take a very big step towards securing overall honours.
“I love goalkeeping,” said Stephen, “it runs in my family. Stephen’s brothers Samuel, David and Dominic are also goalkeepers for their respective teams.
Their mother, Suzie, says her boys watch as much football as they can. “They focus on the keepers and everything they do.”