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Ben Trovato

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Read My World Cup Crib Notes After the Fact

Because why not?

South Africans are known for their optimism. Take the unidentified farmer from Rustenburg who has filed legal papers to get the ANC Youth League’s leader charged with genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Charles Taylor, Omar al-Bashir, Slobodan Milosevic … Julius Malema. The farmer has since herded his family out of South Africa for fear of repercussions. I suppose people standing outside your house pointing and laughing is a repercussion of sorts.

Another great optimist is our president. Jacob Zuma says that, thanks to South Africa hosting the soccer, world leaders will have the opportunity to draw up a road map to ensure that every child on the continent is in school by the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Most of the kids in Africa need a road map just to be able to find the nearest school.

As for the World Cup helping to end illiteracy, perhaps we should lower our sights a little. If everyone understands the offside rule by the end of the tournament, I will be the first to applaud.

Having said that, the 1GOAL campaign deserves to be supported, if only because co-founder Queen Rania of Jordan is so frikken hot.

Meanwhile, three journalists from Portugal and Spain were robbed in their hotel room in Magaliesburg while they slept. Any journalist who wastes time sleeping during the World Cup deserves to be stripped naked and flogged. There are stories to write, photos to take, beers to drink and sex to have.

I would like to say something about our game against Mexico on Friday, but I can’t, because this was written 30 hours before kick-off. You’d think the editor might have had the good sense to hold the front page for me, but you would be mistaken.

All I can do, then, is provide you with a handy guide on what to look out for during the coming matches.

In today’s Algeria-Slovenia game, look out for the Algerians. Their team, the Desert Foxes, is named after legendary German striker Erwin Rommel, who was transferred to Libya in 1941 to help prop up an ailing Italian side. He went on to form the Afrika Korps, a determined little outfit that performed remarkably well against teams fielded by the British Commonwealth.

Also look out for the Slovenians. They have been invaded, occupied and annexed more times than Xaviera Hollander. Few outsiders visit the capital, Ljubljana, largely because they are too embarrassed to try to pronounce it. Renowned more for their wine-drinking than their wine-making skills, their anthem is the seventh stanza of Zdravljica. Remember to stand still and keep your arms at your sides. Slovenians are easily startled by sudden movements.

In tomorrow’s game between the Netherlands and Denmark, watch out for the Dutch. They sound like Afrikaners but are far smarter. This makes them dangerous. They love smoking weed, which makes them less dangerous.

Also watch out for Denmark. They live in a country with three beggars, no crime and very little corruption. Even though Denmark tops the Global Boredom Index, one should not forget that Danes are related to Vikings and share a religion with the Rev Joseph Kony. Also, every year in the Faroe Islands, they slaughter hundreds of Calderon dolphins for the sheer hell of it. The Dutch players would be well advised not to call for the ball in high-pitched squeaks and whistles.

On Wednesday, we play Uruguay. Watch out for Uruguay. They call their team Los CharrĂșas, after a tough nomadic tribe that killed and ate Spanish explorer Juan Diaz de Solis during his 1515 voyage up the Rio de la Plata. He probably deserved it. The message we need to get across early in this game is that we despise colonialism as much as they do. And that we don’t taste so good.

Originally published in the Sunday Times


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