SKABENGA, Durban’s most famous cat, knows a thing or two about soccer.
After all, he sported Manchester United colours when the international stars called at his home at the five-star Oyster Box Hotel in uMhlanga a few years ago. And he showed his own true colours by basking in the limelight and sitting on the hotel’s red carpet entrance as the big stars arrived.
Now, as global attention turns to Russia and the 2018 World Cup, which kicks off today, Skabenga the furry favourite has become a feline fortune-teller.
While Russia has Achilles, the cat who people say will predict which teams will do well in the tournament, and Britain has Mystic Marcus, a psychic pig, Durban is able to call on the skills of Skabenga.
And they are not animal crackers either, say those who remember the now-deceased Paul the famous German-based octopus, which correctly predicted the winners of eight matches and the eventual winner of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
With the first game between Russia and Saudi Arabia today, we quizzed Skabenga about his choice of a winner. Helping him to decide were two bowls of tasty treats, one next to the flag of Russia, the other next to the flag of Saudi Arabia.
And which one did he favour? Time and again, it was Saudi Arabia.
Now, you will have to wait and see if he really is the cat’s whiskers.
Perhaps predictably, Achilles, a cat reputed to have psychic powers, chose his home country to win.
Offered a choice of two bowls of food yesterday, the white feline hesitated before choosing the one with the Russian flag in front of it, dismissing Saudi Arabia’s chances of a win in Moscow – a relief to the host nation, considered one of the weakest sides in the tournament despite having the home advantage. Achilles, who lives in St Petersburg’s Hermitage museum, is deaf.
Skabenga chooses the winning team of the opening match of the World Cup, at uMhlanga’s Oyster Box hotel today.
Achilles the cat, one of the mice hunters at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia, takes a break after predicting that Russia will win today’s game.