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Animal Copa do Mundo
by Amit Parmessur

Last month the first Animal World Cup was held in the Amazon forests. All the rules were adapted from the human game. There was just one big change – animals of the same colour only could play in the same team as due to an inexplicable virus the silkworms couldn’t deliver the different teams’ shirts.

Uproar and delight followed.

The only white and talented elephant couldn’t play for the elephants. His ego then refused the advances of the white dogs. Due to a few black spots the most prolific rabbit goalscorer could neither play for the white nor the black. And being a fanatic he refused to play for any other team, with the black and white rabbit team pulling out with only 5 registered players.

On the positive side a strange yellowish lion was signed by the canaries. Some white rhinos consoled the white dogs for missing out on the gifted elephant. And a versatile brown cat found a place among brown dogs.

The tournament saw emerging talents, expected surprise and mishaps. Bulls v/s Tigers was a heated affair. Alike for rats versus the white cats. A brilliant rat even lost his tail. The lions proved more frightening without the ball than with it. The yellow lion made history though and was hailed as the canaries’ coach for the next world cup. And no team wanted to be drawn against the dirty hedgehogs.

Amidst the excitement and spirit of blatant unfair play, we finally reached the final. The elephants against the industrious black ants. Football fever was ending but relationships beginning. A cat had fallen in mutual love with a Doberman. Birds had discovered the pleasures of remaining on the ground. Crocodiles met their dwarf brothers, the lizards. Donkeys revelled in meeting a few intellectual friends while the hedgehogs determined to be the paragon of cleanliness after some peacocks had praised their fighting spirit.

“You’re the mighty favourites!” exclaimed the TV reporter before the game to the elephant coach. A proud ear flapping was confirmation enough. Their opponents too, the underdogs (or rather underants) were as serene.

The initial half saw the elephants playing at will. Fifteen goals in the first fifteen minutes! Then it was mere frolicking. “You’ll need much sugar for the second half,” said the reporter to the ant coach.

“You don’t worry,” revealed the defiant coach. “We’ve the firepower to burn these fat elephants,”

The centipede who’d vowed to help the ants only in case of emergency was introduced, darting during 45 minutes, chased by confused elephants. He managed to equalise and found enough time to volley in a winner, la Cantona.

The centipede was heralded the Pele of the jungles, the proud elephant coach duly fired. But everyone wanted to know where the centipede was when the emergency arose at the start. “You think it’s easy to wear so many bloody shoes?” he revealed exasperatedly to the reporter. “I never thought I would have to play!”

All queen ants were smitten and love-struck.