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World Cup: Hello, Shakira, this is Bob, Bob Mugabe, you know, the president of Zimbabwe

Good news from Soccer City, the site of Sunday's World Cup final between the Netherlands and (take your pick, it doesn't kick off for a while) Germany or Spain: Shakira will be the headline performer at the closing ceremony, which organizers say will be "more youthful and a bit more technologically advanced" than the opening ceremony.

Translation: It will be louder and with a lot more flashing lights.

Bad news from Soccer City: Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is among the 14 foreign heads of state who have been invited to attend.

Translation: Human rights abuses apparently are not enough to get you banned from taking part in what is supposed to be a celebration of sporting achievement.

Final news from Soccer City: No decision has yet been reached on whether former South African President and Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela will attend the final. If the 91-year-old statesman does, he would likely be the one handing the trophy to the World Cup winner.

Translation: Having Mandela in the house would be a fitting finale to a tournament that has captured the continent's and the world's imagination.

-- Grahame L. Jones in Johannesburg, South Africa


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