CONTROVERSIAL Argentina coach Diego Maradona will be flushed with success whatever happens at the World Cup in South Africa next month – after having new toilets worth R14,000 (£1,400) installed at Pretoria’s High Performance Centre.
Mexico, headed for a luxury venue south of Johannesburg, will bring their own priest to conduct church services in a chapel at the Thaba Ya Batswana lodge.
But as always, Maradona’s bizarre tastes are grabbing the headlines.
The bathroom facilities were good enough for England’s cricket performance squads over Christmas but Maradona demanded “E-Bidet luxury toilets” as he prepares to take the hot-seat after his side struggled to qualify for the tournament.
Maradona has had two rooms knocked together to cater for his “high standards” – sports teams generally pay R3,000-per-night for a room at the HPC.
Maradona’s specialist loos offer a heated seat, a warm air blow-dryer and front and rear bidet “wands”. Available on www.sandman.com, they are described as “the best toilet seats in the world.”
Felix Aguinaga, sent over a fortnight ago to assure all goes smoothly for Argentina said: “We made a special request about the toilet facilities. Otherwise everything is in place.”
The High Performance Centre in the centre of Pretoria is known worldwide for having superb sports facilities at an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet. Nobody has complained about the toilets before.
Colin Stier, boss of the HPC, said: “Bidet toilets are quite hard to get hold of here but we managed to track down a seat which has bidet nozzles, but to make it fit we ended up having to replace the whole bathroom too.”
“Of course we were happy to do it. If it makes Diego more comfortable during his stay then it's worth the effort.”
Maradona and his controversial Argentina squad – which includes Inter Milan’s Champions League-winning hero Diego Milito and Barcelona’s FIFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi, arrive in South Africa on Friday. Brazil will be the first squad in place when they take up residence at the brand new Fairways Hotel in Rand Park on Thursday.