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Only South Africa shake it like me: Milla

Last updated on: July 10, 2010 09:43 IST

Image: Gyan (centre) dances with his Ghana teammates
Photographs: Reuters

The World Cup's original hip-shaking goal-celebrator Roger Milla believes only South Africa have come anywhere near to emulating him this time.

Milla, whose corner-flag dance routine was as famous as his goals for Cameroon when they reached the 1990 quarter-finals, has kept a close eye on the modern generation's celebrations.

There have been plenty to enjoy at this tournament - from hosts Bafana Bafana's 'Diski dance' to Germany striker Miroslav Klose's somersault and Wesley Sneijder's ecstatic tapping of his bald pate after a rare headed goal for Netherlands.

"If I had to pick one, it would be the South Africans. I really liked it because it was a group dance," Milla said of the locals' exultant routine, heading and kicking an imaginary ball, when they opened the tournament with a goal against Mexico.

"Sneijder's was funny too but it was not a celebration in the pure sense. Klose's too was good, but not a dance like mine," the former Cameroon striker told Reuters.

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan started a good dance routine after one of his goals, before being thwarted by team-mates, Milla added. "Gyan's was looking really good but the players fell on him and stopped him. What a shame!"

'Nobody can do it like me'

Image: Roger Milla does his trademark jig

Milla expects a tight World Cup final on Sunday, with Spain likely to edge it against the Netherlands.

But could either European team celebrate as well as him?

"Absolutely nobody can do it like me," he said, laughing.

"Mine was the first one, totally improvised. You need natural rhythm, movement of the hips. It is all about spontaneity, and it has to be personal, your own thing. Of course, you also have to score a goal first, don't forget!"

Milla said amid all the angst over some teams' poor displays, controversial refereeing decisions and other weighty issues, people should not lose sight of the joy of the game.

"You have to emphasise the beauty and the happiness around football. That's why players should use their goal celebrations to give back the love to the fans," he said.

In South Africa to front a Coca-Cola campaign to choose the best goal celebration and raise money through that to fund clean drinking water for schoolchildren, the Cameroonian has been deeply disappointed by the African sides' performances.

Only one of Africa's six teams, Ghana, progressed beyond the first round at the continent's first World Cup.

"It is a combination of lack of discipline and lack of preparation," Milla said, citing as examples the problems in his own nation Cameroon's camp and the appointment of a new Ivory Coast coach just weeks before the tournament.

"I was hoping for more from Africa."

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