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

July 7, 2010 | 10:42 am

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