Thursday, June 20, 2024

Former French football player Vikash Dhorasoo talks about Telugu roots and his goal to inspire the young

Former French professional footballer of Indo-Mauritian descent Vikash Dharosoo, who played as a midfielder. Dhorasoo interacted with students of TSWREIS and TTWREIS in Gachibowli’s Decathlon store.

Former French professional footballer of Indo-Mauritian descent Vikash Dharosoo, who played as a midfielder. Dhorasoo interacted with students of TSWREIS and TTWREIS in Gachibowli’s Decathlon store.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The first floor of the Decathlon store at Gachibowli in Hyderabad is abuzz on a balmy afternoon. Around 45 students of Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) and Telangana Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions (TTWREIS) interact and have a game with Vikash Dhorasoo, as part of the football development program.

The students were all smiles to meet the player. With Alliance Francaise Hyderabad (AFH) piloting the tour, Vikash is on his first visit to south India including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Goa and Visakhapatnam. The former French football player of Indo-Mauritian descent has been to India seven times but not to South India, the land of his ancestors. His forefathers who hailed from Vizianagaram, moved to Mauritius in 1890 to work in the sugar cane fields. In 1970, his father moved to France. “They intermarried within the Telugu community for eight generations,” says Vikash, who was a professional footballer for 15 years with his career highpoint being the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Graphic novel J’Perds Pas La Boule

Graphic novel J’Perds Pas La Boule
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

“We planned the trip to enable him to go to the Andhra region and also plan a program for him to see the present football situation in India and what can be done to uplift it,” says Samuel Berthet, director AFH.

On the sidelines of the event, Vikash says he is glad to be in Hyderabad but points out that his goal is to inspire the young and show that “someone of Indian origin can become a professional footballer and make it to the top.”

While Vikash tries to instil confidence, he clarifies that he is not here to “sell dreams” because, “Only very few can make it to the professional level. I feel it is still important to keep playing the game as it not only gives one a goal in life but also strengthens the will to carry on with dreams and lead a disciplined life.”

Vikash Dhorasoo

Vikash Dhorasoo
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

Vikash remembers visiting New Delhi in 2009 with East Bengal midfielder Renedy Singh for an initiative called Consortium for Street Children, aimed at spotting talent. The desire to find talent at the grassroot level continues as he plays and interacts with children of disadvantaged backgrounds in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. He believes football has the emancipating power to spread the message of equality.

Also a movie actor and producer ( Le Tres Tres Grand Enterprise), Vikash founded the Tatane movement ( Tatane meaning shoe in French) in 2011 to help soccer bring joy and create a bond among people in underprivileged neighbourhoods. Now he works as a football consultant for the French sports channel L’Equipe. “I am vocal in defending football players but I also raise my voice against all kinds of discrimination, racism and homophobia,” says Vikash, who contested the municipal elections in 2020 in Paris.

The graphic novel, J’Perds Pas La Boule in French, is dedicated to his life, his sports trajectory and the Telugu background of his family.

He wishes for India to have a great football team, that Indians play in the best championships and for the World Cup to beheld in India.

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