As France beat Belgium to mark its place in the World Cup finals on Tuesday, the people of Kadalayi in Kannur district – where one of the biggest fans of France lived – were in mourning. They couldn’t come to terms with the loss of 14-year-old Firoz, whose notebooks and walls were filled with the colours of France.
The brave teen had put his own life in danger to save his younger brother and a friend. Firoz breathed his last in a hospital in Kozhikode on Monday night, after battling for his life for five days.
On July 5, Firoz, his younger brother Fahad and a few of their friends were playing football at the Kadalayi shore. When the ball went to the water, 13-year-old Fahad rushed to get it, but he started to drown. Another boy, who rushed to save Fahad, too, was carried away by the strong current. This is when Firoz jumped into the water to save the two.
“Firoz managed to push the other two kids to the shore, but he drowned. He lay on the river bed for about 15 minutes before help arrived. We rushed him to the district hospital first, after which he was shifted to KIMS hospital in Kozhikode,” Mustafa, Fahad's neighbour told TNM.
At hospital, Firoz battled for his life for five days. Slush had entered his organs and he was kept on ventilator throughout. But he passed away on Monday.
Firoz's last rites were held on Tuesday with the help of local residents, since the family faces financial difficulties. Firoz's father Basheer does painting work, while his mother Sabira is a homemaker.
Thirteen-year-old Fahad can hardly hold back his tears when he sees his mother weep, thinking of her son.
"Firozikka (brother) died when he tried to save me. I want him to somehow come back home, Allah," the teary-eyed boy told Asianet News.
On Tuesday, Vipin Murali, the camera person who accompanied Asianet News Kannur reporter Sahal C Muhammad to cover the story, took to Facebook to share his experience of visiting Firoz's family.
"On the front pillar of the house, there is a hand-painted flag of France. Amid tears, his mother told us that Firoz was a good son and loved football. That's when we noticed little Fahad, when he limped to stand beside his mother to console her," Vipin wrote.
He added: "Today, his favorite team is playing in the semifinals. May be he is watching the match sitting in a gallery in heaven. Before he left the world, he saved two lives. I hope he gets his due share for what he has done."