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The Indian connection in FIFA 2006

The presence of an Indian origin mid-fielder in France team has given football fans here a reason to cheer.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 13:54 IST

India may be 117th on the official football ranking list, but millions in the country have found reason to celebrate because of Vikash Dhorasoo, the Indian origin mid-fielder who is playing for France.

The 32-year-old 1.68-metre tall player, whose forefathers migrated to Mauritius from Andhra Pradesh, made his World Cup debut in a Group G match against Switzerland Tuesday, giving millions of Indians around the world a reason to cheer.

His ring finger also came in for some attention during the match when an official asked him to remove it before he came on to the field, with the camera focussed on the action. Players are not allowed to wear jewellery on the field.

Dhorasoo, who was born and brought up in France, substituted Sylvain Wiltord in the 84th minute of the match in Stuttgart.

He finally played alongside French captain Zinadine Zidane, with whom he often has had to compete for a place in the national team.

Having represented Le Havre, Lyon, Bordeaux, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain in various tournaments in France, Dhorasoo came into sharp focus on the global stage when he took the field against Switzerland in the match.

In 2003-04 season, Dhorasoo was named Best Player of Ligue 1 in France. He then shifted to AC Milan, from where he took a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain to be near a stadium he was attached to - the Paris Saint-Germain Parc des Princes ground.

"We're talking about the club from the capital, after all, and I'll be playing at the Parc des Princes. I grew up not too far from here and when I was little we used to drive past the Parc all the time," he had said in an interview after joining PSG.

Dhorasoo's decisions apparently also depend on another factor.

"Every time I've changed clubs in my career it's been a lifestyle choice," he said in the same interview.

That Dhorasoo's talent was recognised by the higher echelons in French football is borne from that fact that he was picked in the national side when he was on the bench for AC Milan.

Last year, Dhorasoo, after a lot of mulling, decided to return to France as he joined Paris Saint-Germain from AC Milan through a mutual understanding.

Dhorasoo has also played for French under-21 and under-23 Olympic teams and also experienced the 1996 Olympic finals in Atlanta.

He played for Le Havre AC until 1998 and joined Olympique Lyon for a three-year stint. His next move was to Girondins de Bordeaux, but returned to Olympique Lyon again.

He was born Oct 10, 1973, in Harfleur in France.