Mar­malade sand­wich may make it a real pic­nic

Weekend Herald - - Football - Cody Ack­bare com­ment

If the Peru­vian foot­ballers seek a com­pa­triot who knows how to foot it in a for­eign en­vi­ron­ment for this af­ter­noon’s World Cup qual­i­fier, look no fur­ther than Padding­ton Bear.

Then again, with play­ers of Al­berto Ro­driguez, Chris­tian Cueva and Jef­fer­son Far­fan’s cal­i­bre in their side, per­haps they might just back them­selves.

Still, Padding­ton, he of “deep­est, dark­est Peru”, seemed to ad­just well when he moved away from his Aunt Lucy and Un­cle Pas­tuzo to for­eign climes.

As a spec­ta­cled bear, he was a na­tive to the An­des moun­tain range. De­spite his ten­dency to bare all in his na­tive habi­tat, he had the street savvy to deck him­self out in Welling­ton boots and a duf­fle coat when he was dis­cov­ered at the Lon­don sta­tion named in his hon­our*.

Those ac­ces­sories could prove handy if the cap­i­tal city turns po­lar to­day and the play­ers get griz­zly. Show­ers and south-east winds are fore­cast, with tem­per­a­tures drop­ping out of the teens.

Bear in mind Padding­ton spent his early life at al­ti­tude, mean­ing his blood cells lapped up the ex­tra oxy­gen at sea level once he set­tled in Bri­tain for his famed ad­ven­tures. The Peru­vians should bear up fine if they’ve done the same.

A cou­ple of slices of toast lath­ered in mar­malade also prob­a­bly wouldn’t hurt to en­sure they’re en­er­gised for the oc­ca­sion, but both teams are ad­vised to stay away from any form of march­ing pow­der if they want to com­plete the trek to Rus­sia next year with­out calamity.

How­ever, Padding­ton’s renowned po­lite­ness might not be as ef­fec­tive for the Peru­vian play­ers in the West­pac Sta­dium caul­dron come kick­off at 4.15pm.

Re­fer­ring to the All Whites as Mr Wood, Mr Reid and Mr Du­rante et al is un­likely to curry favour with a World Cup spot on the line.

Em­ploy­ing one of Padding­ton’s cus­tom­ary “hard stares” on those who rile them up might get bet­ter re­sults, with­out re­sort­ing to any­thing which might in­cur a yel­low or red card. That wouldn’t be in the Ur­sine Code of Ethics.

Still, if Peru are ranked 10th in the world and New Zealand are [ex­cuse the pause as this writer scrolls down the Fifa rank­ings] 122nd, the bare facts sug­gest the vis­i­tors should survive in this habi­tat.

* To al­lay any risk of fake news, the sta­tion may have been named more than a cen­tury ear­lier than Padding­ton Bear’s ar­rival.

Padding­ton Bear may be Peru’s deep­est, dark­est se­cret weapon.

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