Nobody could believe it. That the man who ambled easily into the breakfast lounge of the La Palms Golden Beach was Michel Platini, the same man who said that French football lost its virginity when Olympic-Marseille brushed aside AC Milan in a 1-0 defeat in 1993. African journalists were speechless; the European community cast worshipful glances at him, none seemingly deigning to approach the larger than life image that the legend had cut for himself. Alexandra Klawitter, programme officer of InWent, attached to the International Institute of Journalism, IIJ, said she grew up watching Michel Platini, the mercurial French Captain play in the early 70s.
And indeed, Platini was an idol of sorts to upcoming players. The great French player became the European football iroko when he won the European player of the year award consistently in 1983, 1984 and in 1985 and at once became a dominant force in world soccer in the decades that followed his life. After the 1982 World cup that produced
With the electricity and fever generated by the African Cup of Nations in
So, when the horde of African journalists at the La Palms besieged the soccer giant for a pose, the smiling Platini obliged!