Brits warned about SA’s ‘killer’ snakes

By Neal Collins

The English tabloids continued their unrelenting attack on the World Cup on Monday – with a hissy fit.

The Sun, Britain’s best-selling newspaper, went with: “England’s South African World Cup base is surrounded by some of the world’s deadliest snakes. Killer pythons, spitting cobras, puff adders and black mambas hunt around Bafokeng Sports Campus in Rustenburg.”

In another lurid tale calculated to prevent any last-minute fans flying over, it ran the story under the headline: “They think it’s all cobra, it hiss now,” a corruption of the famous Kenneth Wolstenholme commentary line when England won the 1966 World Cup: “They think it’s all over, it is now.”

The Sun claims the medical unit at England’s base has been stocked with vials of antivenom in case players are bitten. It said pitches would be checked before training sessions and quoted a Dr Keba Mokgethi as saying: “We will tell the team they may encounter snakes.”

England arrive at their luxury base near Rustenburg on June 3 and open their campaign against the US in the Bafokeng Royal Sports Palace stadium on June 11. Apparently the base’s electric fence stops pythons, but not smaller poisonous species.

The paper said the black mamba had enough venom in a bite to kill two soccer squads.