Afghan ‘Messi boy’ forced to flee home

The Borneo Post - - SUNDAY SPORT -

KABUL: The fam­ily of an Afghan boy who gained brief In­ter­net fame af­ter be­ing pho­tographed in a shirt im­pro­vised from a plas­tic bag in the colours of his hero, Ar­gen­tine foot­ball idol Lionel Messi, has been forced to flee his home af­ter a Tal­iban at­tack.

Mur­taza Ah­madi, now aged 7, grabbed world head­lines two years ago when his brother made him a shirt out of a blue and white plas­tic bag, with Messi’s name and num­ber 10 play­ing num­ber.

His sud­den fame won him a meet­ing with his hero but caused prob­lems for his fam­ily, mem­bers of the Hazara eth­nic mi­nor­ity from Jaghori district in the cen­tral prov­ince of Ghazni.

“Mur­taza be­came fa­mous around the world and we are not able to walk free and go any­where. Mur­taza and my other chil­dren were not able to go to school,” his mother Shafiqa Ah­madi said in the home in Kabul where the fam­ily is stay­ing.

“Dur­ing the night sus­pected men were walk­ing near our house and when the Tal­iban at­tacked our vil­lage we de­cided to leave.”

Ghazni, about two hours drive south of the cap­i­tal Kabul, has been the scene of in­tense fight­ing this year.

The Tal­iban briefly over­ran Ghazni city in Au­gust and there has been heavy fight­ing in Jaghori, forc­ing thou­sands to flee.

“The se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion is not good and I am afraid to go out­side,” Mur­taza said.

“I want to be­come a foot­baller like Messi and I want to be able to go to school.” — Reuters

Mur­taza with the jersey that was given and signed by Barcelona star Lionel Messi at his house in Kabul, Afghanistan. — Reuters photo

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