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Little Wonder: Afridi's youngest fan

Shahid Afridi met his five-year-old fan Mustafa Gill to appreciate his support for the Pakistani cricket team.

On the night when Pakistan lost the cricket world cup semi-finals against India, the whole nation’s morale was down. People were seen going home still wearing the green t-shirts, with their faces painted, and green bandanas still on, but no one was smiling.

Amidst the doom and gloom, Mustafa Gill, a five-year old boy in Karachi, was so moved by watching people’s passion fading away, he decided to do something about it. He thought of the perfect plan to help Shahid Afridi (and the fans) feel better.

As Gill and his mother Anila Weldon walked out of the venue where they had watched the match, he asked her to take out the flag and raise it high. The five-year-old figured that what really matters is participation and giving it your best shot, isn’t it? The crowd, however, didn’t think so and their raised flag was met with angry, sarcastic comments.

The boy wasn’t about to give up on his team as the rest of his countrymen had. He forced his mother to buy candies and with a flag in one hand, and sweets in the other, started offering them to people at a takeaway joint where they had stopped to order dinner. At first no one was interested, but then he just announced: “Anyone who wants this candy, please say: Well Played, Pakistan’!

Suddenly, many people joined in his efforts and found peace and happiness in the act. In no time, a lot of people were, once again, cheering for the team and Afridi in spite of the defeat.

This little boy’s positive message reached captain Shahid Afridi, who then decided to meet him and personally thank him for such unconditional support. A grand lunch was organised at a local hotel to hail the two heroes.

“Negativity, anger, depression, hatred are best dealt with acts of kindness. Kindness is contagious. At five years of age, my son Mustafa has managed to convert perceptions. All he did was spread happiness on a sad day. As mothers, if we all teach our kids the magic of willpower and determination, it will eventually, one day, lead to the revolution that everyone in the country is so looking forward to,” said Anila Weldon (who runs WeldonMoms, a network of successful mothers in Pakistan), while addressing the crowd.

There is a lesson to be learnt in all of this. As Gill said to a grumpy old man who sarcastically reminded him that Pakistan had just lost the match: “Uncle, it’s quite okay to lose a game. What’s important is to take part and to put up a good show.”