You would have come across many people, for whom football is nothing less than a religion, and they will go to any extent to prove their love and craze for the sport.
However, chances are that you wouldn’t have met a greater football fan than 14-year-old Firoz from Kadalayi in Kannur district of Kerala, whose profound love and support for the France team was common knowledge in his village.
It is therefore heartbreaking to know that the little one was not able to celebrate his favourite team’s entry to the FIFA finals because he lost his life last Thursday while saving his younger brother and a friend from drowning in the sea.
On July 5, Firoz and his 13-year-old brother, Fahad, were playing football along with a few of their friends on the Kadalayi beach when the ball went into the water.
Fahad entered the water to retrieve the ball but was swept away due to the high tide. Seeing this, his friend jumped to his rescue, but also ended up being carried away by the waves.
Without thinking twice, Firoz put his own life at risk and managed to get both the boys to the shore safely, but unfortunately, drowned in the process and lay on the river bed for over 15 minutes before people could take him to the district hospital.
His condition was quite critical as slush had entered into his organs, because of which he was shifted to the KIMS hospital in Kozhikode and kept on ventilator support. For five days, Firoz battled for his life before finally succumbing on Monday.
Firoz’s parents, Basheer and Sabira, are a painter and homemaker, respectively, and are not very well off. Keeping this in mind, the residents of the village came to their aid and helped them conduct Firoz’s last rites.
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While the young boy’s parents and brother are inconsolable, the entire village is also mourning the loss of a young life and is and is still grappling to come to terms with his demise.
“Firozikka (brother) died when he tried to save me. I want him to somehow come back home, Allah,” a teary-eyed Fahad told Asianet News.
The tragic incident came to public knowledge, when Vipin Murali, the cameraman for Asianet News Kannur, who had reported the incident, took to social media and shared this heartbreaking experience of meeting Firoz’s family.
“On the front pillar of the house, there is a hand-painted flag of France. Amid tears, his mother told us that Firoz was a good son and loved football. That’s when we noticed little Fahad when he limped to stand beside his mother to console her,” Vipin’s Facebook post said.
At that time, France had been playing in the semifinals. Vipin also added, “Maybe he is watching the match sitting in a gallery in heaven. Before he left the world, he saved two lives. I hope he gets his due share for what he has done.”
You can read his post in Malayalam here:
#രക്ഷാപ്രവർത്തനത്തിനിടെ_ജീവൻ_ബലിയർപ്പിച്ച_ഫിറോസെന്ന_കുഞ്ഞു_ഹീറോയെ_ലോകമറിയണം…പുഴയിൽ മുങ്ങിയ സുഹൃത്തുക്കളെയും…
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)