MOSCOW: A Russian comic’s song which mocks the country’s World Cup team and questions the financial sense of hosting the event has gone viral on the eve of the tournament, angering some fans and politicians. Written and performed by Semyon Slepakov, “Ole Ole Ole” imagines Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed head of Chechnya, as the Russian football team’s new but unsuccessful manager. It has been viewed more than 5 million times on YouTube. Performed with just his own acoustic guitar accompaniment, Slepakov’s song has touched a nerve in Russia whose government hopes hosting the World Cup will give it a boost on the world stage even though its team is ranked by FIFA as the weakest in the tournament. Tapping into the views of many Russians who regard their players as underperforming and overpaid, it predicts Russia will lose their first match 2-0. Russia, who have not won since October last year when they were helped to victory by two own goals by South Korea, are due to play Saudi Arabia on Thursday in the competition’s opening match in front of President Vladimir Putin. “Our team is, let’s be frank, shit,” sings Slepakov. He describes an imaginary scene in the pre-match locker room where Russia’s players are smoking a hookah pipe, watching YouTube videos, and texting girls they met in a nightclub the day before, a jokey reference to real-life off-pitch scandals. Slepakov, a well known TV producer, also sings of how the strain of hosting the competition has sucked up all of Russia’s resources even though “things are not that great in the kingdom.” Published in Daily Times, June 14th 2018.