Football fever gripped the basketball courts of the Mary Immaculate School in Fontainhas where former French World Cup footballer Vikash Dhorasoo played a short, spirited game with the FC Goa under-14 team members.
Dhorasoo, who was nursing an upset tummy, did not let that come in the way and ensured that the FC Goa girls got the best of him.
PASSION FOR FOOTBALL
Goa's well-known footballer Brahmanand Sankhwalkar, who saw Dhorasoo play, said, “Just see his footballing genius. The ball at his feet has made him forget his ailment. That is true passion.”
Dhorasoo was in Goa on Monday evening at a function organised by the Alliance Francaise Panjim, the French language teaching and cultural institute, which has recently opened its new office in the Fontainhas area of Panjim.
A BIT ABOUT HIS BOOK
On the occasion, Dhorasoo also touched upon his book, J’Perds Pas La Boule, the graphic novel dedicated to his life, picturing his sports trajectory as well as the Telugu background of his family. His publisher, Vincent Bernière was also present.
Dhorasoo, member of the French World Cup football team that finished runners-up in 2006, was very bullish about India’s World Cup prospects.
'INDIA WILL SHINE'
The former footballer, who has played for France, Paris Saint Germaine and AC Milan, all top international teams, said, “India will soon be playing the World Cup or World Cup football will come to India. On my travels through southern India and Goa, I have seen so many young boys and girls playing football. This is a very good sign.”
Dhorasoo spoke to football fans and guests at the Panjim Inn hotel where he was flanked by Brahmanand, his French publisher Vincent, Samuel Berthet, Director, Alliance Francaise, Hyderabad, and Anuradha Wagle, President, Alliance Francaise Panjim. Writer Aniruddha Sen Gupta conducted the interviews.
A WORD AGAINST RACISM
Admitting that he faced a lot of racism in France in his years as a footballer, Dhorasoo said, “Sadly, racism is very much prevalent in our sport. Thankfully, a lot of people are fighting it now and hence there is hope.”
In his interaction with the FC Goa girls under 14 team, Dhorasoo spoke about his own teenage years, when he had to undergo a hernia operation and a back surgery which threatened his career.
He told the young footballers, “I did not let the surgeries hamper my passion for the game. You need to be mentally strong to succeed in this sport.”
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
When the discussion veered to Dhorasoo’s latest illustrated biography, his publisher Berniere said, “Vikash’s life story is fascinating because of his Mauritian-Indian roots, as also his deep sense of humour.”
Anuradha Wagle summed up the memorable evening by saying, “The mission of Alliance Francaise Panjim is to connect the Francophone world with Goa. This event involving football, France and Goa has been the perfect launching pad for our new premises.”
MORE TO COME
But Dhorasoo's Goa visit is not yet done. On April 5, the Siolim Football Centre GFDC, along with the Village Panchayat Child Committee and the Siolim-Marna Panchayat will felicitate the former international footballer on the St Anthony's Church ground, Siolim, at 4 pm, according to a press release issued here.
The release states that Goa's ace goalkeepr Brahmanand Sankhwalkar will also be felicitated on the occasion.
Dhorasoo will interact with the trainees of GFDC Siolim and other centres. Goa's famed cartoonist and Siolim's pride, cartoonist Alexyz, will present a special memento to Dhorasoo.