CANBERRA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — A 12-year-old ballboy from Brisbane, Australia, could prove to be China’s secret weapon at this year’s Asian Cup after he helped goalkeeper Wang Dalei save a penalty in their opening game victory over Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.
Wang Dalei (R) of China and ball boy Stephen White greet each other during a training of the Chinese football team for the AFC Asian Cup in Brisbane, Australia, Jan. 12, 2015. Stephen White was invited to watch the training by the Chinese team. During the Group B match against Saudi Arabia on Jan. 10, 2015, Wang talked to Stephen White before he saved the penalty shot. White advised Wang Dalei to dive left and Wang listened and save the penalty shot successfully, which helped the Chinese team to a 1-0 victory. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
Stephen White was situated behind the goal China was defending in the second half of its 1-0 victory when Saudi Arabia was awarded a penalty.
As Saudi Arabian striker Naif Hazazi prepared himself for the spot kick, Chinese goalkeeper Wang sought inspiration from behind the goal.
“He asked if he should go left or right,” White told News Ltd., who reported the story on Tuesday. “I told him left, because that’ s the way I always go in trying to predict where the ball will go. ”
Wang dived left and saved Hazazi’s tame effort, helping China earn a crucial three points to start their tournament.
“I was very surprised,” White continued. “I was really excited when he saved it.”
As was Wang, who immediately pointed in the direction of the 12- year-old following his instinctive save.
The celebrations continued after the match, with Wang greeting White with a warm embrace at the final whistle.
On Monday night, White was invited to China’s training session ahead of their upcoming match against Uzbekistan in Brisbane on Wednesday.
There, he was presented with the jersey worn by Wang over the weekend.
“China is now my second team at the tournament after the Socceroos,” White said.
The youngster will be back in action on Tuesday, acting as the ball boy as Australia takes on Oman.