Former soccer star Patrick Vieira calls on President James Michel-• Offers autographed Blues shirt


Mr Vieira offering mementoes to President Michel

Accompanied by Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) partnerships client services account manager Steve Antrobus, Mr Vieira, who has been the club’s football development executive for the past two years, called on President Michel yesterday afternoon at State House.

Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports Minister Vincent Meriton, community development and sports principal secretary Denis Rose, National Sports Council chief executive Alain Volcère, Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) chairman Elvis Chetty, SFF secretary general Jemmy Adela, David Cook of the sports sponsorship department of Etihad and head of marketing/commercial for Air Seychelles Sabrina Agathine were also present.

“I’m glad and happy to be back here in Seychelles,” said the Frenchman who has played for Cannes (in France), AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan (in Italy), Arsenal and Manchester City (in England) in his career spanning 18 years.

“I like the hospitality of the people. They are always smiling. And in my meeting with the President and the federation chairman, I can see they want to give the kids the opportunity to learn and play football. This is a fantastic idea.
“I’m here to pass on my experience to the youths of Seychelles, help them learn the game, become better players and achieve their dreams of becoming top footballers. I’ve been there and I know what goes on through the kids’ minds. Football has made me and has been my education.

“I left Senegal at the age of eight and I played football in many countries where I’ve learned their culture. This has made me a better person. I’m sure football is a good form of education. Football is a big part of our society and part of our education. I am glad to be here representing Manchester City football club with the help of our sponsor Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles, bringing the experience that we have for the young kids. I think it’s fantastic,” said Mr Vieira, who added he hopes to discover the country with the help of his local guide.

“I like spicy food and I hope to eat some here,” added the former defensive midfielder who looked at ease with his Seychellois hosts as he cracked jokes.

In his remarkable playing career spanning 18 years, Mr Vieira won numerous domestic championships in both England and Italy, as well as the World Cup with France in 1998 and the European Championship two years later.
Mr Vieira added that he enjoys his new role as MCFC football development executive as it gives him a different vision of what a football club is about.

“It’s a privilege to be at the right place at the right time and Manchester City football club have really developed over the last four years,” he said, adding he was disappointed the team lost the Premier league title to city rivals Manchester United this year.

“The whole club is disappointed about losing the title, but we have learned a lot this year and this has shown us that it is very important to keep working hard in training.”

President Michel conveyed his appreciation and gratitude to Mr Vieira for coming to Seychelles.

“I am happy you will be meeting the young footballers and to further motivate them to excel in that sport as well as keeping them away from bad behaviour. The strategic partnership between Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles has brought a new dimension to football in Seychelles,” said President Michel.

They discussed the 10-year partnership which was signed by Etihad Airways, Air Seychelles’ equity alliance, and Manchester City football club, the good platform that Etihad Airways, Air Seychelles and the SFF are forming in football that will help the youths become better footballers.

They also spoke about the positive role that football and other sports create in order to promote new values for the social renaissance programme.

The President also congratulated Mr Vieira for being nominated as Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Accompanied by a team of City coaches, Mr Vieira will run some of the Manchester City Seychelles soccer school 2013, hosted by Air Seychelles and Etihad Airways. The series of football clinics for Seychellois youths have been organised in collaboration with the SFF.

Clinics for children aged seven to 16 years old will take place from May 4-6 on Mahé and Praslin. More than 500 school children have been selected and invited to take part in the programme.