Friday, July 06, 2007

Danone's Zinedine coaches Indonesian President

Three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and French football legend, Zinedine Zidane gave a spot of coaching to Indonesia’s president as he began a three-day visit in the world’s fourth most populous nation to promote his sport to children and to open a diary factory in bandung operated by his sponsor, French food giant Danone, Clad in a batik shirt, jeans and runners, the star helped President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono along with some of Indonesia’s young players practise a few passes as they met in the gardens of the presidential palace.

“I’m sure I’m going to have great pleasure and a lot of fun here in Indonesia as this is my first visit,” the 35-year-old told reporters. “People talked a lot about the kindness of Indonesian people and I can already see (it) in the eyes of the people since I arrived at the airport.”

Turning to Yudhoyono he said, “I have a present for you Mr President,” before handing him an autographed French national team shirt with his trademark number 10. The president said he hoped Zidane would “inspire” Indonesia’s young football players. "I am very pleased to have your visit today. You are a great man, Mr Zidane. You are very famous here in Indonesia," he said. The President on the occasion was accompanied by First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, Youth and Sports Minister Adhyaksa Dault, his son Eddy Baskoro and daughter-in-law Anissa Pohan who is a TV sports presenter.

At the palace he presented three footballs with his signatures on them to the Indonesian junior football team which recently participated in the Asian Football Confederation U-13 Football Festival in Malaysia. "I'd also like to thank this young team and I'd like to wish them the best of future," Zidane said, adding that he hoped the country`s schoolboy football team would win the Danone Cup.

Presidential spokesman Dino Pattidjalal said he was amazed to see the presence of so many journalists for the event. Some of them asked for Zidane's signature and posed for pictures with the French champion. Zidane's visit coincides with the start of the Asian Cup, which is being co-hosted by Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam. He is accompanied by Groupe Danone Chairman and CEO Franck Riboud.

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