The Telugu in FIFA World Cup Soccer 2006
Not many are aware, but in the midst of all this, a Telugu spark glitters, and it is swift 'n' daring, right in the center of the field. A Telugu person, and the only player of Indian origin in the FIFA World Cup 2006, but on whom rest the expectations of many French people - Vikash Dhorasoo, No. 8, midfielder, the French national team.
Vikash DHORASOO8 | Paris-SG Midfielder
Height: 1.68m. Weight: 63.00kg. Nationality: France
Born: 10/10/1973 in Harfleur
First professional match: Le Havre - Saint-Etienne : 0-0 on 11/08/1993
Vikash Dhorasoo has his origins in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. His parents are from Mauritius, owing to their grandparents' migration to work in the country's sugar plantations. Most Dhorasoo families still live in vicinity of Britannia, Riviere des Anguilles and Chemin Grenier villages in the south of Mauritius. Vikash's parents migrated to France in early 1970s. They stayed at Craucriaville, Normandy district. They came to France with their first three children - Vironi, Vipin, Vishna. Vikash was born and raised in Normandy.
2003 Vainqueur du Trophée des champions (Lyon)
2003 French 1st Division.. Champions (Lyon)
2004 French 1st Division.. Champions (Lyon)
2006 French Cup winner (Paris-SG)
2001 League Cup winner (Lyon)
2002 League Cup winner (Bordeaux)
Vikash Dhorasoo, milieu de terrain de Lyon, dont les origines se situent au Havre, à l’île Maurice et en Inde, fera peut-être ses débuts avec l’équipe de France demain face à l’Ukraine.
Il ne parle pas l’hindi de ses parents mais le langage de Caucriauville, quartier populaire havrais. Dhorasoo vient d’intégrer le groupe des Bleus champions du monde.
Son prénom signifie " progrès et prospérité ". Il se définit comme quelqu’un de " calme ", " tolérant ", " sage ". " Ça, c’est mon côté indien, dit-il. Pour le reste, mes racines sont au Havre. " Vikash Dhorasoo est né en France en 1973. Ses parents avaient débarqué deux ans plus tôt à Caucriauville, quartier populaire havrais. Ils venaient de l’île Maurice avec leurs trois premiers enfants. Le père fut embauché comme plombier sur les chantiers navals. Aujourd’hui, son frère Vipin possède une maîtrise de gestion, sa sour Vironi, après un DEA de psychologie, est devenue professeur des écoles et sa seconde sour, Vishna, a réussi une licence de langues. Seul Vikash a abandonné la fac dès la première année en science économique. " L’ambiance me plaisait pourtant ", dit-il. Mais il avait un mot d’excuse en forme de contrat professionnel signé à dix-neuf ans au sein du club de football du Havre. " Jusqu’au jour de ma signature, je n’ai jamais été vraiment sûr que je ferais du football mon métier. "
Vikash doute de lui, ou plutôt s’efforce de ne pas attraper la " grosse tête " - "de toute façon, mon entourage me corrigerait vite ", précise-t-il -, ce qui fait dire à tous les techniciens du ballon rond que sa marge de progression, à vingt-cinq ans, est encore très importante. Il confirme, mais il fait de la patience l’un de ses nombreux traits de caractère, probablement issu de l’héritage culturel familial. De la même manière, on lui reproche de ne pas être assez égoïste devant le but adverse. " Je le sais, répond-il en frottant mécaniquement une barbe de trois jours, mais je crois toujours que l’on peut encore faire une dernière passe alors que c’est parfois impossible. Moi j’aime donner sur un terrain de football. "
Vikash Dhorasoo sait d’où il vient. Ses arrière-grands-parents, qui appartenaient à l’ethnie des Télégou, ont quitté l’Inde et l’Etat d’Andra Pradesh pour couper la canne à sucre à l’île Maurice. " C’était l’époque où les colons venaient chercher de la main-d’ouvre, bien avant le tourisme ", lâche-t-il, plein de sous-entendus. Ses parents sont hindous, parlent hindi et créole, lui est athée et prétend faire savoir que " Le Havre n’est pas une ville si moche que ça " et que les gens y sont " très chaleureux ". Bien sûr, il est issu d’un " quartier chaud ", comme il dit, affirme connaître les raisons de la " violence des jeunes " et raconte souvent ce jour où quatre policiers l’ont conduit, à cause de sa mine plutôt mate, dans un parking pour une fouille en règle avant de s’apercevoir qu’il s’agissait de Dhorasoo et, donc, d’une " méprise ". " Ce jour-là, j’ai compris que je n’étais plus le fils d’immigré noir, mais un footballeur qui gagnait de l’argent. "
Aujourd’hui, son salaire avoisine les 300 000 francs. Un futur transfert s’évaluerait autour de 30 millions de francs. A l’intersaison, Vikash - " progrès et prospérité " - a eu le choix entre Bordeaux et Lyon, plus quelques offres venues d’Espagne et d’Angleterre. " Je ne voulais pas quitter la France, avoue-t-il. Déjà, la séparation d’avec ma famille restée au Havre n’a pas été simple à gérer, alors je ne me voyais pas mettre plus de distance encore. " Il a signé à Lyon parce que " Bordeaux me faisait évoluer à un autre poste ". Lui, ce qu’il aime, c’est jouer juste derrière les attaquants, plutôt dans l’axe. Orienter le jeu, faire reluire sa technique toute en finesse, ses changements d’orientation servis par un centre de gravité assez bas (il mesure 1,68 m, soit un centimètre de moins que Lizarazu).
Et le voilà dans le groupe France, là où Roger Lemerre clame qu’il se trouve " peut-être dans la situation idéale pour débuter " avec les Bleus. Mais du forfait de Zidane contre l’Ukraine, Dhorasoo retire d’abord une frustration : " Je n’ai jamais joué avec lui, ni même effectué des entraînements à ses côtés. Ça doit être un régal. " Il dit sans fausse modestie que l’opportunité qui s’offre à lui avec l’équipe de France ne consiste pas à prendre la place au meilleur numéro 10 du monde mais à offrir une éventuelle complémentarité. Une association du type Platini-Giresse des années quatre-vingt, par exemple. Toujours est-il que Vikash Dhorasoo a franchi les grilles du Centre technique national avec une certaine appréhension.
" J’avais un peu peur de me retrouver à la table des champions du monde, admet-il. Je craignais de déranger et en fait j’ai été très bien accueilli. " Il connaissait du monde à l’intérieur. D’abord Roger Lemerre, qui fut son entraîneur au bataillon de Joinville lors de son service national et avec lequel il est devenu champion du monde militaire en 1995. Ensuite les joueurs qui furent du voyage olympique à Atlanta l’année suivante : Wiltord, dont il partage la chambre à Clairefontaine, Pires, Vieira. Vikash affirme être déjà " intégré " au sein des Bleus et espère maintenant fouler " pour la première fois " la pelouse où les Tricolores sont devenus champions du monde en juillet dernier. Il interroge dans un clin d’oil : " Passer en huit mois du stade Jules-Deschaseaux (l’enceinte du Havre Athletic Club, NDLR) au Stade de France, c’est un beau voyage, non ? "
(courtesy: The Hindu)
He bears a name that many in India would identify with, but plays football with the elite of the world. He is Vikash Dhorasoo — the first player of Indian origin all set to play in the 2006 World Cup. Dhorasoo, who earned fame as an accomplished midfielder playing for different European clubs including AC Milan, has been named a member of Equipe Tricolore — the French national team — for the 2006 World Cup. He is set to play alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry as the former World Cup champion launches its campaign in Germany on June 9.
Dhorasoo spoke about his childhood, his career as a professional football player and his plans exclusively through e-mail when Sportstar contacted him in Paris.
His views, laced with irony and wit, reflect his enigmatic personality. However, he is clear about one thing — his love for India, the land of his forefathers. Dhorasoo's ancestral roots are in Andhra Pradesh. He says he would be coming to India, not as a tourist but with concrete plans for developing the sport in the country.
Dhorasoo's career as a professional is impressive. He is currently with FC Paris Saint-Germain in French Ligue 1. A man of strong tastes and preferences, he fell out occasionally with previous club and national team coaches, which delayed his selection to the French squad.
France's coach Raymond Domenech, however, found in him a worthy midfielder and chose him for the national squad. Dhorasoo, who has represented the French under-21 and under-23 teams, played in the Olympic finals in Atlanta in 1996.
Earning a place in Equipe Tricolore, according to Dhorasoo, is the brightest moment of his career.
Question: Who inspired you to take up football as a profession?
Answer: Everybody in my family inspired me to take up football. My father and my uncle played club football in Mauritius. In France, we were always watching football on television. I've got pictures of me as a toddler holding a football. The love for the sport runs in the family. It's also the national sport in Mauritius.
At what age did you start playing?
I got into systematic training late when I joined a local club at the age of nine, which is quite late in Europe. Like a lot of kids, I mostly played on the yard in front of my building.
Can you tell us something about your childhood?
Well, there is nothing exceptional. I spent my childhood in the suburbs of the harbour Le Havre, in Normandy. I lived in a poor neighbourhood called Caucriauville, but I can't complain. It's like the childhood of a lot of young French boys — going to the school and playing football in front of our building. I started football in a club rather late. I wasn't an intern at "formation centres" like a lot of my colleagues. I managed to have a regular scholarship, like my brother and my two sisters. Studies were important in my family. In all, I had a regular childhood.
Who helped you in growing up as a world-class footballer?
All the people you meet in your life give you something, whether you like them or not. I met a lot of people — some important and some not so important — but I learnt something from all of them. It's not my style to thank somebody or someone.
How was the path to graduation as a French national team player? Do you think you could have made it to the team a lot earlier?
I had to be in it sooner or later. In the end, I find all the fuss about who's in and who's not in, very insignificant. Most of us are in that state of uncertainty — where we come and then disappear from the team and then make a comeback. It's funny that I came back so late. There were times when I thought I was lost for the national team! My elevation to the national squad was not just Raymond Domenech's choice. It's more about my personality than my performances. And that has prompted him to choose me.
There were reports about you getting involved in disputes with national coaches and team-mates. What actually happened?
You know, I sometimes get involved in disputes with my parents, or my brother and sisters. That's not very important.
How is your life after you got a chance to play for the French national team?
The national team belongs to the French people. It means representing the best of our country. The selection story may be very important to the media. I feel it happened naturally as I was then playing in Paris. All that explains how I came under the spotlight. When I got to play for France first I was surprised because at the time I was leaving for Milan (2004). I was supposed to have faded away from France but I got selected for the French team. That brought me enough popularity. I find all this quite paradoxical.
You are used as a replacement in the slot dominated by a star like Zidane. Do you feel the extra pressure because of that?
Yes, of course, but again, most of the pressure comes from just representing the team. It's a great team, and with it carries greater expectations from the whole country. But it's also a pleasure playing with Zidane.
Do you think the modern system of football has enough scope for creative players like you?
Yes, of course. There's room for everybody. I don't know if I'm a creative player, but there's room for the small ones, the big ones, the Indians...
You are now a senior in club football and have represented many clubs in and out of your country. Which club did you love playing in the most and why?
Well, the club I liked the most was AC Milan, but I didn't play a lot there. It was an incredible club, I would need the whole day to tell you what I was experiencing up there. Even when I finish telling you about the experiences, you would find it difficult believing me. I guess you have to be there to understand it.
What is the toughest challenge you have faced as a footballer?
Probably trying to become a regular in Milan. I had to fight my way and make a place where the likes of Kaka, Pirlo, Gattuso, Seedorf were unquestionable and playing really well.
How do you cope with the physical challenge from the big-sized Europeans or Africans? How important is it to be physically robust to survive in football at the world level?
There are more and more athletes in football. But I'm not really an athlete. So, yes, it's difficult, but it's not impossible. But when I see players like Giuly, Iniesta in FC Barcelona, they're small-sized players. There's only one solution: you have to thread and avoid the big players and not run into them.
What is your idea about India? Have you ever come to India?
I haven't been to India as yet. I know where I come from. My great grand parents come from India, Andhra Pradesh, more precisely. From there they came to work in the sugarcane plantations of Mauritius, nearly as slaves. Some of my family members have already gone to India, to see how our country of origin is. I know I'll go there later with my family as well. But it's a journey that needs preparation and time too.
I don't want to go to India as a tourist. I have a real interest in that country. I know India through its movies, its music, its dances, and its food. That's the India I know.
Do you know any club in India? If any Indian club invites you, would you like to play here?
No, I don't know them. Maybe, I'll come at the end of my career. It would be great fun if I were able to work with the Indians in India.
You will be treated as an icon in the country of your origin. Would you like to come to India and inspire the young generation in taking up the sport?
I believe many Indian people are not very attracted to football. It seems to be ingrained very deep somewhere! Well, there's some work to be done to revive the interest about football among the Indian people. I don't know where they are positioned in the world order right now, but the country can really come up. If I can help in the reconstruction process, I would be glad!
You reportedly have interest in fine arts and literature. Do you love to be called an `intellectual footballer'?
I find that quite ridiculous! It's not very nice for the other footballers. They're not all idiots! And it's not very nice to the intellectuals either. You know, when I arrived in Lyon, I went to the opera because it was the first time I was in a city with an opera. I wanted to see how it was. A journalist saw me there and the next day, there was a story in the press about me being a great opera fan. That was nonsense — it was the first time I had ever been to an opera!
Please tell us about your life outside football.
Just a normal life, taking care of my wife and kids... I'm just a normal guy.
We are eager to see much more of Vikash's play in the coming few weeks.
Vikash scores the winning goal in the French Final Cup and gets mauled by his teammates.
EDITION SPECIALE PSG-OM (2-1) COUPE DE FRANCE
Why Mauritius and Andhra celebrate a French World Cup debutant
PUNE, JUNE 18:They aren’t celebrating in Vishakhapatnam yet but maybe they will in a few weeks, when Vikash Dhorasoo’s international career finally gets set to take off. The French midfielder has so long lived in the shadows of Zinedine Zidane—they play the same role for the French team—but Zizou’s retirement after the World Cup opens the way for him.
In fact, he’s already created history, becoming the first footballer of Indian origin to play at this level by turning out against Switzerland last week. ‘‘He told me it was a very special feeling,’’ his mother Nalinee told The Indian Express from Paris, where the family lives.
Though Dhorasoo himself has never spoken too emphatically about his Indian roots, saying only that he would like to go to India but ‘‘not as a tourist,’’ his mother had no such qualms. ‘‘We originally come from V-sha-ka-pat-nam,’’ she said, spelling out the word with a heavy French accent. ‘‘My grandparents lived in Andhra Pradesh.’’ They were taken to Mauritius to work on the sugar plantations, and that’s where Nalinee met Vikash’s father Manduth who worked as a plumber on the Britannia Sugar Estate.
The family moved to France in 1970, where Vikash was born three years later. His childhood was spent in Le Havre, Normandy, and he grew up in a neighbourhood called Caucriauville where he learnt the sport on the spaces available between buildings. ‘‘He was, I think, about nine when he went to play organised football, though studies was equally important,’’ Nalinee said.
His steady rise through the ranks, with Lyon, Bordeaux, AC Milan and now Paris St-Germain, not only brought him to national attention but also dispelled the notion that Indians are genetically not predisposed to football at the top levels.
‘‘He is a good boy,’’ says legendary French coach Guy Roux. ‘‘His technique is very good, his passing is beautiful. Not that good in defence but his attacking skills are good.’’
Roux was coach at Auxerre for 44 years before retiring last July, taking the club from the regional Burgundy league to being French champions and his famous academy producing stars such as Eric Cantona and Djibril Cisse. Dhorasoo might have been another. ‘‘He was in my office in Auxerre as a young boy,’’ Roux said. ‘‘He spent two hours with me. We tried to sign him but he didn’t join.’’
What does he see in Dhorasoo’s future? ‘‘Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll play that long for France because he’s 32; if he was 22, that would be different, he would have a long international career ahead of him.’’ Was he unlucky in being around the same time as Zidane? ‘‘Perhaps,’’ he says with a shrug.
Was football on his mind right through? ‘‘It’s in the family... his father’s side. In fact, both his father and uncle played football.’’ While Manduth played a role in shaping his football career, perhaps the greater influence came from his maternal uncle, Sama Sanassee. Speaking from Port Louis, Mauritius, Sama sought to downplay his contribution. “Ah! I was no professional like Vikash, you know. I played for a village called Lasalines in Port Louis as a youngster, nothing more.”
Yet Dhorasoo’s World Cup debut against Switzerland last week was celebrated in Mauritius (and, on the Net, by Telugus and Mauritians everywhere).
‘‘He made us all proud,’’ said Vanishree, Sama’s daughter. ‘‘We knew he was talented since he was associated with big clubs, it was only a question of when he would hold centrestage. A debut—even if for a limited period—in the World Cup almost makes us feel like we are part of Vikash’s biggest dream.’’
Has she spoken to him? ‘‘No, I haven’t but my dad (Sama) spoke to his dad (Manduth). They congratulated each other, after all it was a family thing, you know.’’
Vikash last visited Mauritius two years ago, Sama recalls. ‘‘It was a time when most of us Sanassees got together.”
Was he interested in his roots? ‘‘The interest to know his family roots is a common feature in these reunions,’’ Sama says.
So what is Vikash: French, Mauritian or Indian? “Vikash was born in France,” Sama begins.
‘‘He’s married a French girl,’’ he says after a pause. ‘‘It’s like his mother (Nalinee) who hails from an Indian family... all of us speak and understand Telugu, but were born in Mauritius.”
In football’s flat world, perhaps it really doesn’t matter.
Courtesy: Indian Express