Expats' Life

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    Mateus Martins:'I love football because I am a Brazilian'


    It's amazing to find that a foreigner living in Dongguan for three years can understand and speak fluent Chinese. "Do you want me to speak Chinese?" It seems that Mateus Martins prefer to answer questions in Chinese than in English, and of course, always with a bright smile.


    Brazilians and football


    As Martins estimates, there are more than 2,000 Brazilians living in Dongguan. To him, Dongguan is a city very much like his hometown. Each week, the Brazilians in Dongguan will have a get together to play football or enjoy other activities together. They will also go to Songshan Lake to cheer for Martins when he has a football match.


    Besides playing football for a local team in Songshan Lake as a foreign player, now Martins also teaches Chinese kids football as a coach in Arsenal Soccer Schools. In Brazil, even the young children know football well. They learn 5-person football. That is one reason why the Brazilians have good skills of playing football in limited spaces. In China, people prefer to play badminton and Pingpong to football. So the kids have to learn football step by step. Martins achieves a sense of accomplishment when he finds that his students have made significant progress after six or seven months of lessons.


    Teamwork is critical in all games. Martins still remembers the football match with Panyu Team. In the first beginning, Panyu beat his team by 5:0. Later, the team improved their team working abilities and finally beat Panyu by 7:5.


    On his birthday in November last year, Martins' wife visited him in Dongguan from Brazil after a match, making it the most memorable day for him in Dongguan.


    Martins also became a spotlight for the media in his motherland Brazil.


    As a member in the champion team, now Martins has become a 'star' in Dongguan. A lot of people may come to him to say "hello" even though he has no idea who they are. Besides the local newspaper and TV reports, he also became a spotlight for the media in his motherland Brazil. "A lot of my friends in Brazil know little about Chinese football. I tell them that there are a lot of people who love football in China."


    I love football because I am a Brazilian." Everybody loves football in Brazil but not all of them can play football well. Even the women love football and everyone has a hometown team to support.


    Brazilians and the World Cup


    During the World Cup, all the Brazilians are off work and on vacation to enjoy the games of the Brazilian team. "There will be no Brazilian wandering in the streets at that time. We love the World Cup, we love football." If Brazil wins, there will be big party held to celebrate it. If Brazil loses the game, many people will be upset for several days.


    Here in Dongguan, Martins will go out to watch the World Cup games with his friends sometimes and go watch at home sometimes. Meanwhile, in Humen there is also a World Cup going on with six foreigner's teams, Brazil, England Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Japan, as well as nine Chinese teams consisting of local football lovers, which began as of June 12.


    Like other Brazilians, Martins wishes the best for the Brazil team in the World Cup. "We will win." As he predicts, the Portugal match will be their toughest. If we play well, we will hold the championship title successively for six years. In 2014, Brazil is to host the FIFA World Cup. Martins is as excited as the rest of Brazil. Though the Brazilian team has a new coach and many popular players are no longer in the team and there are many new players, Martins believes that the high quality teamwork will elevate the team to prime position.


    Right now there many bars in Dongcheng area are broadcasting the World Cup. Martins recommends the England pub, One for the Road, to watch the game.


    About learning Chinese


    "The secret of learning Chinese is to talk with locals frequently." In the first half year in China, Martins worked in his brothers' company where he could learn Chinese from his Chinese colleagues.


    "People here teach me everything about China. I don't know where I will go to in the future. But Dongguan will always be my home. Each Chinese person is my Chinese teacher. " Now Martins is learning Cantonese and he knows several basic phrases.


    (By Tan Jing)



    Source:Dongguan Today  Editor:Shane Michael