BY KUNLE SOLAJA, SAINT PETERSBURG.
The psychic cat named Achilles which has been predicting outcome of matches at Russia 2018 has predicted a Nigeria victory over Argentina this Tuesday. Achilles a successor to the famed Octopus Paul of South Africa 2010 World Cup is based in Saint Petersburg, the host city of the epic Nigeria – Argentina clash.
The furry white feline lives in St Petersburg’s Hermitage museum. It is one of the many cats living at the Hermitage, once the imperial Winter Palace, Achilles previously predicted outcomes during the 2017 Confederations Cup.
Achilles is deaf, meaning he will not be easily distracted by waiting journalists when he makes his predictions by choosing between two bowls of food, each bearing a team flag.
For his training, Achilles, dressed in a red soccer jersey, looks at a chart of the teams and game schedules, before, slightly reluctantly, moving onto an exercise wheel.
“Achilles is now in his place of work, he is preparing for the World Cup and going through the adaptation process,” veterinarian Anna Kondratieva said during a training session at a pet shop near the museum.
“People tend to feed him more than they should. When he came to us he looked like a football, not a cat, so we decided to put him on a strict diet.”
When Achilles is not in training, he can also be found posing for pictures in the museum yard, building a celebrity persona that is about to get a huge lift from one of the world’s most-watched sporting tournaments.