The confederations cup, held in South Africa last month, wasn’t just another international tournament aimed at separating the loyal football fan from the Pounds/Dollars/Rands/Euros (delete as applicable) in his pocket – it was used as a dress rehearsal for the main event some 12 months hence.
On the whole, South Africa passed with flying colours, sure there are a few areas that need to addressed – the pitches were abysmal, players and spectator’s kit went missing and the park and ride was more park than ride.
Perhaps the biggest issue to come out of this tournament was that of the humble vuvuzela – a long plastic horn sometimes know as a “Lepatata”.
I have never been in a football stadium where these horns have been blown but I have been subjected to a cricket match where the opposing fans blew their horns non-stop for 5 days. To say that this was annoying is an understatement. However the vuvuzela is beefed up version of what those Pakistan fans were blowing at Old Trafford. By all accounts it takes a decent amount of puff and some tricky jaw and lip work to get these beasts to work but when they do the din is just dreadful.
Imagine if you will the sound of a fully-grown cow, covered in honey, slowly being squashed to death in a car crusher whilst being tormented by the sting of 1000 bees. Now amplify that noise by 10,000% and you’re close to what a stadium full of these instruments make. Ok well that might be a bit of an exaggeration but you get my drift….
Lee Dixon even described them, during a match between USA and Italy, as “Quite irritating” – he’s a fine one to talk!
Anyway, these horns have created such a ruckus that Fifa actually considered banning the things from next year’s World Cup.
Now as much as I dislike the sound and as much as it is likely to drive me nuts next year – I can already see scores of drunken Saffers wondering around Covent Garden taking turns to scare the life out tourists with their horn blowing talents – I think banning them is a bridge too far. What next – will Sepp Blater tell us that we are no longer allowed to chant ENGERLAND, ENGERLAND, ENGERLAND on the terraces. Imagine if you were banned from all international matches simply for singing about the nocturnal activities of the referee. So you see my point – the vuvuzela is as intrinsic to South African football as singing is to the English game. And if South African fans thing that blowing these horns will intimidate the opposing fans – just wait until they hear the chorus of 20,000 English fans!
Anyway – Sepp Blater has announced that the horns will not be banned – and quite right to. Annoying as they are, it seems they are here to stay.