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Quote candid Replybullet Topic: Zizou delights Bangldeshi villagers
    Posted: 07 November 2006 at 8:32pm
Zizou delights Bangladeshi villagers

SIDDHARTH SAXENA

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DHAKA, Nov 6: Zidane fever gripped Bangladesh on Tuesday as 20,000 people came to watch the 'headbutt hero' in action at the Bangabandhu Stadium. But it was the 5,000 women and men who turned up in all their festive finery in the rural environs of Bhashan hamlet, 42 km south of the capital, that took the entire bakery.

Tomorrow is another day and the Bangladeshis are simply refusing to have their fill of the bald Frenchman.

Jostled all the way from Zia Airport when he arrived on Monday night to the Bangabandhu, befittingly in a six-horse carriage, it was the stopovers at Bhasan and Bangladesh Football Federation that made it seem very special. While his edgy security team scurried here and there when their ring was breached time and again, the man played his role to near perfection. All day.

Not a flinch, not a glare or a dissenting murmur, Zinedine Zidane, a uniquely endearing mix of the shy and sly, turned on his quiet charm - hitherto thought missing or hidden behind his famed reserve. He was completely untroubled by the growing, wave-like attention that greeted him whenever his six-SUV convoy and the police sirens stopped.

Maybe, years of staving off over-interested defenders came good today, for it must take quite an extraordinary person to not be unruffled by the noisy throng and still effortlessly rise over the rest. Literally.

The lithe frame might have added to the personality, but the famous bald head was never out of sight in a sea of people. In the multitude you could look away, but would instantly spy it when you turned back even when it was bending to tickle the diminutive 55-year-old Babul's frizzy beard or laughing shyly at the ice-breaker - the mention of the World Cup final headbutt that Shamsun Naha provided.

While the waiting world dithered, the matronly Shamsun told him in Bangla dialect - and Zidane nodded as if he followed every word of it - that she would always recognise Zidane as the "matha diya hit" football player and not by his name. When her 24-year-old-son told her Zidane was coming to her village, she couldn't place him. Then he reminded her of the "forehead shot" and she understood. "I really cheered you at that moment," she told him. When it was all relayed to Zidane in French, there was a blush. Or was it the heat?

It was hot, but Zidane, a profuse sweater himself, was undeterred. He heard speech after speech and welcome song after welcome song, as he strove to hear a village woman's success with a dry fish enterprise, aided by the Grameen Bank and Groupe Danone association. Zidane is here as a brand ambassador for the French food giant and his journey continues well into Wednesday.

At the Bangabandhu, the great man's sublime skills were to be pitted against the country's top clubs' junior sides. A climbdown for the maestro? Banish the thought! Even if he confessed at a joust of a press conference at the Bangla football headquarters at not knowing anything about Indian football, no one was complained when the man took his task of football with under-16s with all good-natured seriousness.
 
 
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Quote Ghazzali Replybullet Posted: 18 December 2006 at 5:31pm
Assalamualikum.Ya Zidane just kept the people of the country awed in the two days he visited.He said he couldn't believe so many people knew him in this country.Probably a bit too many people knew him.The media just grabbed him everywhere he went and to escape the wrath, the authorities kept a dummy car infront of his hotel and he rushed to the airport by another car and flew off before the media could realise they were bluffed.
The world is a dangerous place to live in, not because of the bad people, but because of the good people who does not do anything about it.
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