Port Elizabeth: Halal for the Algerians, tubs of caviar for any wandering WAGS – South Africa is pushing the boat out to ensure its VIP World Cup guests don’t feel homesick.
Algeria, first round rivals for England, are based in the four-star Mondazur Resort Estate hotel at the San Lameer golf complex on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.
And to make the Desert Foxes feel at home they have installed their own chef to prepare halal meals at their World Cup headquarters 140 kilometres from Durban.
Staff at the hotel have reportedly also been taught a smattering of French just for good measure with phrases like ‘bon appetit’.
Said Elmare Kotze, the hotel’s general manager, told South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper: “Our main focus is to ensure that the team experience a ‘home away from home’ feeling for the duration of their stay.”
England manager Fabio Capello may have slapped a ban on visiting WAGS to avoid a repeat of the media circus that accompanied the England team’s wives and girlfriends in Germany in 2006 - yet one resort is leaving nothing to chance in the event that one or two slip through the net.
England are based in Rustenburg, not far from the luxury golf and casino resort of Sun City, where Victoria Beckham is, according to local media, tipped to stay.
Nicolas Smalberger, chief executive of the five-star Palace of the Lost City hotel, assured any WAGS they wouldn’t go hungry.
“We bought six extra tubs of caviar, at 8,000 rand (856 euros) a tub. We’ll probably order some more soon,” he told the Times.
Sun City’s events manager Gert Venter told the same paper: “It’s hard to be sure about these people’s moves, but for instance the Palace would be the obvious place for Victoria to stay.”
Switzerland were in danger of going into battle on empty stomachs after their head cook suffered a broken hand in training in the kitchen.
Thankfully for Ottmar Hitzfeld’s squad, Emil Bolli, whose cuisine adds a Mediterranean touch to hearty traditional Swiss fare, was given the all clear.
“Only heavy pans give me some trouble, but I can still give orders,” he said last month.
Supporters at the 2010 World Cup meanwhile can look forward to tucking in to an array of indigenous cuisine such as biltong (spicy dried strips of beef or antelope), pap (mashed maize), bunny chow (curry) or (not for the faint-hearted) sheeps head.
This last-named speciality is first boiled then roasted in a culinary procedure that exposes the sheep’s teeth which lends this local delicacy its name - smilies.