Bhatti Bringing Football Legend Zidane to Pakistan

Posted on January 7, 2007
Filed Under >Darwaish, Disasters, Economy & Development, Pakistanis Abroad, People, Society, Sports
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According to reports in Aaj TV news and The Nation, legendary football superstar Zinedine Zidane – perhaps the greatest player of modern football – will be visiting Pakistan in March this year.

The main purpose of the visit is to raise funds for special children in Pakistan and he will also visit earthquake affected areas. He will be coming to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad for charity dinners. This is part of Zidane’s worldwide charity tours and he visited Algeria recently, Bangladesh in November 2006 and now coming to Pakistan.

This vist is being arranged by famous French-Pakistani fashion designer Mahmood Bhatti who comes to Pakistan every year to raise money for charity. According to The Nation:

Bhatti said he had planned Zidane’s visit to help improve Pakistan’s image in the world. “We all need to contribute in every way we can to improve Pakistan’s image in the world. There should be no politics when this national interest is at stake. “I believe all well-known Pakistanis living abroad should be approached by the government and asked to contribute in the development of country. They should be honoured and given recognition for their services,� he said.

… After the quake tragedy Bhatti raised Rs 15 million by organising a dinner at the residence of Pakistani ambassador in Paris. Bhatti has no outlet for his label in Pakistan. He, however, is ready to give franchise here if he found the right business people. Bhatti now comes to Pakistan only for charity reason. For two years in a row he has been holding shows here to raise funds for charity Umeed-e-Noor that takes care of special children.

By the way, the company “Bhatti”, with more than 500 designers, operates in Finland, India, Poland, Taiwan, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, the US and the UK; and through which he has transacted multi-million dollar transatlantic business over more than three decades.
On Zinedine Zidane, the story in The Nation points out:

Two times world’s best player and three times Europe’s best player Zidane led his team to win the 1998 World Cup held in France. In 2006 again he led his team to finals of World Cup. One of the best soccer players in history, Zidane, earlier this month visited Algeria – the country of his parents – where he was awarded a tumultuous welcome by the government and people and a three-day holiday was declared.

Being a football fan, I have loved watching Zidane do magic on football pitch. In all those 10 years or so I have watched him play in Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A, I have never seen anyone move with football like Zidane. It is unfortuate that some people remember him because of that head butt incident in 2006 World Cup final but I will always remember him for the great things he did on the football pitch. Watch this and this clip on youtube and you will agree with me.

Darwaish contributes to Metroblog Lahore, where a version of this post first appeared.

21 responses to “Bhatti Bringing Football Legend Zidane to Pakistan”

  1. Darwaish says:

    Ahsan, thank you for pointing out that mistake. Corrected :). Cricket is definitely more popular game in commercial terms but football is actually the most ‘played’ sport in Pakistan particularly in villages. If only we have even a few better grounds and some funding, there is no shortage of talent in my view. This visit, if properly planned, can be a turning point of football’s future in Pakistan.

    I think Bhatti has some share in both these hospitals you mentioned. I also know that another hospital will be constructed in Lahore next year which he has planned for poor. Interesinlgy, a local ‘qabza group’ occupied the land last year and it took a lot of effort to get it released from them :)

  2. Saadia Khan says:

    A great player and a great man and a real legend! In Europe he is known as Zizou, this name is given by his fans with great love and affection. On world cup 2006, German TV showed the documentary of football best players and among them Zidane’s documentary was the only one which was repeatedly showed. He is still known as respectable player and his one mistake could not spoil his image as a good player and a good man. Its not only Muslims but many non Muslim do love him alot.

    Here is the views of Ciro Ferrara (ex-Italian defender) on Zizou after world cup 2006, the translation is also added in english.

    By the way, His new documentary “Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait” will be available by end of this month.

  3. Zeeshan says:

    nah, Zidane is Zidane. We feel more close to him since he is a Muslim. On Bhatti, I heard he owns doctors Hospital and National Hospital in Defence.

  4. Phil says:

    Bhatti saab, thank you for your efforts. Please try to get arrangements made for Theirry Henry, Patrick Viera, David Trezeguet and Willam Gallas! :D

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