England fans shouting “Cabanga” - somehow I can’t see it

There are plenty of unusual World Cup 2010 stories doing the rounds at the moment but one caught my eye this week and I can’t resist commenting on it. The story involves supposed experts in sports performance choosing a word which they believe can inspire England to glory in South Africa.

The word in question is “Cabanga”, which means “imagine” in Zulu. Repeated chanting of the word apparently has the greatest positive impact on brain activity and heart rate, making it the opposite of booing.

Even more strangely, when footballers hear “Cabanga” being chanted they play better and can do more keepy-ups and headed passes.

Dr David Lewis-Hodgson, the man behind the research, says “Cabanga is the opposite of booing, which is a word which has no real meaning but is negative. The Cabanga chant is positive and can help players get ‘in the zone’”.

Tests conducted showed fans thinking the word could have a positive effect on performance. Now a Facebook page has been set up to encourage this positive thought.

Predictably, Dr Lewis-Hodgson believes that if England fans adopt the chant it could propel Fabio Capello’s side to victory this summer.

Former Arsenal and England defender Lee Dixon has backed the campaign. “From my personal experience of hearing fans chant ‘England’ during the key stages of a match I can honestly say the 12th man can help England win,” said the BBC World Cup pundit.

“Now I have seen the effects of the word Cabanga on performance, it is clear we can use it to help cheer our lads to victory. With everyone chanting Cabanga it could make a very real difference. It could even be the crucial, deciding factor if a match goes to the dreaded penalties.”

Let’s ignore the fact that Dixon would never admit going along with this ridiculous idea in a public forum where his sanity might be openly questioned.

Instead, we’ll just play along with the idea by imagining (see what I did there?) how “Cabanga” might be used in traditional England songs:

Land of Hope and Cabanga

God Save Our Gracious Cabanga

Rule Cabanga, Cabanga Rules The Waves

We love you Cabanga, we do

Cahh-bang-a, Ca-ban-ga, Ca-ban-ga, Ca-ban-ga

Jerusalem (replaced by ‘Cabanga’)

And of course the tune from The Great Escape, ending in a rousing shout of Cabanga!

Nice idea, but I don’t see this one catching on with England fans.

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