French soccer hero Zinedine Zidane gave a spot of coaching to Indonesia's president yesterday as he began a three-day visit to the world's fourth most populous nation to promote his sport to children.
Clad in a batik shirt, jeans and runners, "Zizou" helped Indonesian 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 on the eve of the Asian Cup tournament which Indonesia is co-hosting.
"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," he said.
Turning to Yudhoyono he said, "I have a present for you Mr President," before handing him two signed shirts and several soccer balls.
The president said he hoped Zidane would "inspire" Indonesia's young soccer players.
"You are a great man," Yudhoyono told Zidane after juggling a ball with him. "You are very famous here in Indonesia, you have a lot of fans who admire you."
Many palace workers brought their children along to see Zidane, creating a party atmosphere at the normally stuffy palace.
A motorcade for the French star is reportedly planned through the normally traffic-snarled streets of Jakarta early tomorrow morning, when he will also meet the city's governor.
The soccer player is also expected to hold a coaching clinic for children during his visit in his role as an ambassador for children's programs for French company Groupe Danone.
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