Sunday, June 12, 2005

Indonesian fans appreciate Ronaldo’s visit to tsunami disaster area

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo drew attention to football passions in Indonesia’s tsunami-wrecked and civil war-wracked province of Aceh yesterday when crowd control problems forced the cancellation of a coaching clinic. The 20 year-old had been scheduled to lead a widely publicised clinic for elementary school and junior high school students in the capital city of Banda Aceh.

Ronaldo made one attempt to walk out to the soccer field from his bus but eventually retreated to the vehicle when a path could not be cleared. Although officials tried to restore order, Ronaldo left after about 30 minutes for his flight to Jakarta. A spokesman for the event organizer said there was a "misunderstanding" with the security officials.

Earlier, Ronaldo had visited the coastal area of Ulee Lheu to see the destruction from the Dec. 26 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. He was accompanied by eight-year-old survivor Martunis, who the Portuguese national team hosted last Saturday week ago in Lisbon.