A soccer-mad lion gets to grips with the game at Johannesburg Zoo - showing that football fever has well and truly taken over South Africa.
Casting an image that could inspire England's Lions when the national team heads to South Africa for the World Cup, Triton the lion has become popular with tourists for his obsession with his beloved football.
Roaring success: Triton plays with his football in his enclosure at Johannesburg Zoo
Claws for concern: Triton has become a popular tourist attraction at Johannesburg Zoo
The 11-year-old male is so enamoured with the game he refuses to play with any of the seven females he lives with at the zoo's lion enclosure.
Curator Agnes Mululeke said: 'I think Triton could teach a few real footballers a thing or two with his skills.
'We have 10 lions in the zoo and he is the only one who likes the football.'
Triton is expected to be a tourist attraction for England fans travelling to the 2010 World Cup.
'While the World Cup is on we think he's going to be the most popular big cat in the country because of his love for the sport,' Agnes said.
Growling influence: Triton shows off his silky skills to amazed tourists, pawing his favourite football
Footy mad Triton, an 11-year-old male who was born at the zoo, likes soccer so much he refuses to play ball with any of the seven females he shares his enclosure with
'He doesn't like any of the females to come and interfere if he's playing with his ball. It's clear he thinks its a man's game. He won't share it with any of the ladies.
'He is a definitely a great mascot for the England team.'
The England campaign will kick off on June 12 against USA in Rustenburg.
Many supporters will first travel to transport hub Johannesburg before flying or making the two hour drive north-west to the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace for England's opener.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1244133/Score-Soccer-mad-lion-gets-grips-game-South-Africa.html#ixzz0d1eLsybn