A SEVEN-year-old tsunami survivor, found wandering on an Indonesian beach 19 days after the disaster struck, wearing the Portuguese national football shirt, has stolen the hearts of the nation.
With little hope left of finding many more survivors, a Sky News crew discovered Martunis walking alone among the debris, completely disorientated and wearing only the distinctive red, yellow and green top. The image of the boy has been emblazoned across the Portuguese media this week and he has become a symbol of inspiration and hope, as well as a call to the nation to offer financial support. Martunis was rewarded for his courage by being reunited with his father and grandmother. However, the family reunion is, for now, incomplete as the boy’s mother and sister are still missing.
Football team ‘moved’ to buy land and house
Members of the Portuguese Football Federation have been greatly touched by the discovery of the young Portugal and Manchester United fan and have already donated funds to buy Martunis’ family a house and land. Portugal’s coach, Filipe Scolari, has spoken on television about the subject, revealing that he has made contact with Ian Dovaston from Sky News to enquire about the boy’s wellbeing and to offer assistance. “We had to help in some way,” said Scolari. “After seeing the images on TV, we had to take immediate action and this was (buying a house and land) what we felt was most appropriate.
“What we have seen here is a tremendous will to live, the persistence and courage of this little boy, the way he continued to look for the chance to live a life that was almost snatched away. Martunis is an example to all of us and to our athletes in their future challenges,” the coach continued.
Boy could watch Portugal match
Something that would surely bring a smile to the face of the young football fan would be to actually meet his idols. “Who knows? We could bring Martunis to watch a qualification game for the World Cup,” said Scolari. “But, first, he needs to recover from everything that has happened to him.”
Portuguese team popular
in the Orient
The fact that Martunis was found wearing a Portuguese football shirt seems to have been an astonishing event, however, CM Y Ping Chow, president of the Chinese League in Portugal (Liga dos Chineses em Portugal), revealed: “Portuguese football shirts are very popular in Asia.” This, he explains, is because of the high profile Euro 2004 Championship, the popularity of fantasy football and the international success of players such as Luís Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. Most of these shirts are made in China and are then sold throughout the world. In Indonesia, it is possible to buy a shirt for as little as one euro or less in towns like Banda Aceh, the home of young Martunis.