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Qatar World Cup: The 'humane' gesture that brought Brazil's coach to an Arab fan

Brazil coach Tite was on a week-long search for the Jordanian-Palestinian to express his gratitude for helping carry his grandson
Tite gifting Husam Saffarini a signed shirt from the Brazilian football stars (Social media)
Tite gifts Husam Saffarini a signed shirt from the Brazilian football stars (Social media)

Returning home after watching Brazil's football team play their magic on the pitch in Qatar, Husam Saffarini had no idea what chain of events would follow his simple act of kindness to a fellow spectator.

As hundreds walked from the stadium to the Doha metro station after the Selecao's win over Serbia on 24 November, the Palestinian-Jordanian offered to help a woman by carrying her sleeping child.

The boy, it turned out, was the grandson of Brazil's coach Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, commonly known as Tite.

The video of Saffarini, draped in a Palestine flag, moved Tite and many others online. The coach said he wanted to know who the man behind the "humane" gesture was and thank him personally. 

"Football gives us so many beautiful things," Tite said. "I want to meet him because he showed a sense of solidarity that transcends football."

After a week-long search, Saffarini was found and invited to Brazil's camp.

The Brazil fan was given the chance to attend the national team's training before Tite gifted a signed shirt from the Brazilian football stars.

"This means the world to me," an emotional Saffarini said, after a warm embrace with Tite. "This is something I cannot buy."

Online, the story won the hearts of many social media users.

Saffarini's gesture was praised, especially by Arab and Palestinian fans, for setting a good example for Arabs.

"Many people before the World Cup had an incorrect idea about the Arab world but now they're being surprised by what they are seeing," one user tweeted.

This year's World Cup is being hosted in the Arab world for the first time in history, giving fans from the region a rare window to showcase their culture and enjoy the beautiful game up close.

The infusion with global fans has already brought many memorable moments so far, like the widely-shared fan reconciliation between an Ecuadorian and Qatari supporters, the Arab-Brazilian dance off, the Uruguayan fan wearing a "Free Palestine" shirt and many more.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition

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