China thwart’s Kiwi boy’s football dream for being Tibetan

Talented Northland teen Nyima Tsering-Young was selected to play in the prestigious Gothia Cup in China but has missed out because his father is Tibetan. (Photo courtesy: John Stone – Northern Advocate)

(, Jul02’19) – By adopting indefinite procedural delays, China has effectively sabotaged the participation of a 14-year-old Kiwi boy whose father is Tibetan in the Gothia Cup – the “Youth World Cup” – tournament, which will open on Aug 12 in Chengyang district in Qingdao Province.

On its website, the Gothia Cup says its vision is “to create a meeting place for the youths of the world no matter religion, colour or nationality”. But obviously “Nationality” does matter a great deal to the government of China, the country hosting the eight-day tournament.

Talented Northland teen Nyima Tsering-Young was picked to play in the upcoming tournament by a private football academy. But the “stand-out” player has been withdrawn by the academy because of ongoing delays and the high possibility that his visa may be declined, reported Jun 29.

Nyima’s mum, Megan Tsering-Young, believes her son had been discriminated against by the Chinese Consulate issuing the visa because of his ethnicity.

Nyima Tsering- Young and his mother Tsering-Young. (Photo courtesy: John Stone)

“This sort of decision is about racism,” she has said, noting, “There were no delays with any other visas, only Nyima’s.

“All of the visas have been processed in New Zealand but Nyima’s had to be sent to China, and the timeframe is indefinite, of course it’s because he is half-Tibetan,” she has said.

Megan has said she sent her son’s visa application to visit China early because her family had faced delays and declined visas in the past when trying to visit her husband’s family in Tibet. But there were ongoing delays, and emails and calls were ignored.

“Then last week we got an update saying his visa might be considered if he wrote a letter declaring he was only going to play football and ‘not conduct any other activities’.”

Although the family thought it was unfair, Nyima was willing to write the letter. Nevertheless, given the continuing uncertainty around his visa, the football academy reluctantly withdrew him from the team.

Megan first met her Tibetan husband in India and the couple has lived in New Zealand for 20 years.

The couple had met with similar delay or denial before, when applying to visit Chinese ruled Tibet. An application to visit Nyima’s grandmother, who was terminally ill with cancer, was subjected to a long delay while another one to visit relatives for a holiday was rejected, the report said.

Since it started in 1975 more than a million players from 143 countries have participated in the tournament. In 2007, FIFA named it the “World Youth Cup”, the report noted.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here