Magazine article New Internationalist

Southern Exposure

Magazine article New Internationalist

Southern Exposure

Article excerpt

It was 18 December 2006. When I reached Saiful's house at Itahata in Gazipur, near Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, it was already afternoon.

A big poster of the French national football team from that year's World Cup Finals was stuck on the wall of Saiful's shanty house. Saiful was standing beside the poster and was smiling in a way that suggested that he was dreaming of bringing the World Cup trophy to Bangladesh. Filtered through the leaves of nearby trees, the golden sunlight playing on his face made his smile even more glorious.

Saiful's hero was French football star Zinedine Zidane. On 7 November 2006, while on a visit to Bangladesh, Zidane took part in a friendly match with 21 students from Mazlishpur School. Saiful, who was just 12 at the time, scored a goal against his hero's team. …

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