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Vuvuzela!

by Nomad Sat Jun 20th, 2009 at 03:33:51 AM EST

A minor kerfuffle is beginning to grow in Europe now the Confederations Cup has kicked off in South Africa, as appetizer for next year's World Cup. Apparently, the enthusiastic use of South Africa's vuvuzela has been discovered by European football fans and players, and to much of their chagrin:

Football Feed Article | Football | guardian.co.uk

FIFA is to discuss the future of the vuvuzela, the noisy plastic trumpet blown at the Confederations Cup which has drawn complaints from European television stations. FIFA president Sepp Blatter told a media briefing he was aware of complaints the din of the instrument was drowning out the commentary of broadcasters and that they wanted it banned at this tournament and next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Click here for the sound of the Vuvuzela!



Promoted by Sassafras


I can vividly recall many evenings when, while working at the university, my attention got drawn to the crowds of fans congregating to the university's stadium, because of their characteristic hooting and blasting of their vuvuzelas. (The university's football team plays in the highest league, hence this happened a lot). Of course I could write extensively what I've learned about the choice instrument of South Africa's numerous football fans that has become part of the country's fabric - but why bother when there is information readily available:

Vuvuzela: SA football's beautiful noise - SouthAfrica.info

The ancestor of the vuvuzela is said to be the kudu horn - ixilongo in isiXhosa, mhalamhala in Tshivenda - blown to summon African villagers to meetings. Later versions were made of tin.

The trumpet became so popular at football matches in the late 1990s that a company, Masincedane Sport, was formed in 2001 to mass-produce it. Made of plastic, they come in a variety of colours - black or white for fans of Orlando Pirates, yellow for Kaizer Chiefs, and so on - with little drawings on the side warning against blowing in the ear!

There's uncertainty on the origin of the word "vuvuzela". Some say it comes from the isiZulu for - wait for it - "making noise". Others say it's from township slang related to the word "shower", because it "showers people with music" - or, more prosaically, looks a little like a shower head.

The announcement, on 15 May 2004, that South Africa would host the 2010 Fifa World Cup gave the vuvuzela a huge boost, to say the least - some 20 000 were sold on the day by enterprising street vendors.

In Johannesburg, where there are two major football teams, the Pirates and the Chiefs, colour of your vuvuzela matters! As a fan, you're not taking too seriously if you don't carry around at least one. (I can't wait to get my hands on an orange one.) What all this noise does to people's eardrums in the cauldrons of the stadiums, I leave to others to find out.

What will happen to the recent complaints remains to be seen. In 2008, Fifa already okayed the use of the vuvuzela for 2010:

Fifa gives Vuvuzelas thumbs up: News24: xArchive: Sport: SWC2010

Fifa confirmed on Friday that South African football fans will be allowed to bring traditional Vuvuzelas to matches at the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Permission to allow fans to bring the noise-making trumpets to the stadiums was granted after a debate that lasted several hours, during which time World Cup organisers managed to convince football's ruling body that the instruments were essential for an authentic South African footballing experience.

Frankly, I'm obviously biased, but I concur rather a lot with Blatter here:

Football Feed Article | Football | guardian.co.uk

"It's a local sound and I don't know how it is possible to stop it," [Blatter] said on Wednesday. "I always said that when we go to South Africa, it is Africa. It's not western Europe. "It's noisy, it's energy, rhythm, music, dance, drums. This is Africa. We have to adapt a little.

Note to fans: bring ear plugs, and enjoy: South Africans do partying with relish, and do it well - and I can speak from experience...

Viva Vuvuzela Viva!!!



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Guess I'm doing some serious summer blogging: first worm poo, now cow horns - I wonder what'll be next. Perhaps there should be a poll...
by Nomad on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 10:15:59 AM EST
Easy, cow poo, worm horns.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 10:18:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
beware of the sound of one-horned worms.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 19th, 2009 at 05:18:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Man, I had the volume up and that vuvuzela nearly blew my head off at the start!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 10:19:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Vuvuzela!
FIFA is to discuss the future of the vuvuzela, the noisy plastic trumpet blown at the Confederations Cup which has drawn complaints from European television stations.
What are they on? Those plastic trumpets are ubiquitous in Spanish football stadiums.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 11:00:56 AM EST
See, for instance here.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 11:03:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The story is partly hung upon the comments of Xabi Alonso:

Football Feed Article | Football | guardian.co.uk

Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso said: "I think they should be banned. They make it very difficult for the players to communicate with each other and to concentrate. "They are a distraction and do nothing for the atmosphere," he added after his team's 1-0 win over Iraq.
by Nomad on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 11:51:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not surprised players don't like the trumpets.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 12:32:31 PM EST
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This is a story from just last May about a regional TV station (joined by other sponsors who "saw this initiative with good eyes") planning to hand out 2,000 trumpets at a key game of a football team two divisions down from La Liga "to cheer and give colour to the municipal stadium in Ponferrada".

I guess according to Sepp Blatter Ponferrada is in Africa, not in Western Europe.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 12:38:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They make it very difficult for the players to communicate with each other and to concentrate.

In American football this is known as home field advantage.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:54:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Vuvuzela!
"It's a local sound and I don't know how it is possible to stop it," [Blatter] said on Wednesday. "I always said that when we go to South Africa, it is Africa. It's not western Europe. "It's noisy, it's energy, rhythm, music, dance, drums. This is Africa. We have to adapt a little.
As we know, L'Afrique commence aux Pyrénées.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 11:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Vuvuzela!
Viva Vuvuzela Viva!!!
See? Spanish, all right.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 11:05:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Horns of various designs are used by football fans across Europe.

However, I watched some minutes of a couple of the present Confed Cup matches on TV, and I must say that at least across TV, 60,000 blown at the same time is a different quality altogether, even compared to Spanish league matches (resp. Champions League home matches of Spanish teams) I saw.

You really hear nothing else as background noise. And it is very monotonous -- what really bothered me was not the noise itself, but that there is barely a difference in noise when there is a goal, at least it doesn't come across on TV. Hence, what it came closest to is a regional league match here in Europe, when two-three horns blown continuously are enough to drown out the cheers of all the fans.

(BTW, one of the commentators, commenting from the stadium, also complained of the sound as he heard it live.)

With all that said, it seems to me too that a ban would be nonsense; and, with the greater number of foreign fans, I suspect that the situation wouldn't be as bad in at least those World Cup matches not involving the host. Also, FIFA could ask sound engineers to tinker with filters.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 19th, 2009 at 03:17:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
allafrica.com: South Africa: Blow Up a Vuvuzela Storm to Distract Whingeing Spaniards - Bafana Captain's Appeal to Supporters

Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena has appealed to the nation's soccer lovers to descend on Free State Stadium in their thousands and blow up a vuvuzela storm in the potentially decisive final Confederations Cup group match against Spain in Bloemfontein tomorrow night.

A section of the European media voiced their intense dislike for the vuvuzela this week and even Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso said he wished that the "distracting" instrument could be banned as it made it difficult for the world's top-ranked team to concentrate. His discomfort with the SA stadium accessory was noted and the Spaniards can expect a vuvuzela storm like no other in Bloemfontein tomorrow night.
by Sassafras on Sat Jun 20th, 2009 at 03:42:59 AM EST
It seems to me that there could be a parallel here to the famous (or infamous) Roker Roar.

Named for the former stadium of Sunderland AFC, the Roker Roar was said to be worth an extra goal.

wikipedia: The name Roker Park will be always remembered for the passion and atmosphere that the fans of Sunderland AFC created, and it is such a testament to this that the noise of the supporters received its own unique name - 'The Roker Roar'.

Sunderland fans (disclosure-I am related to many and was married to one) generally seem to regard this as a good thing. Including the fan who posted this testament from an opposing team captain on the Sunderland message board.

But nothing I have ever heard equalled the intensity of that wild roar at Roker Park last week when Sunderland drew level with Tottenham in the 6th round tie.
As we fished the ball out of the net and the mad with delight Sunderland fans streamed on to the field, I began to realise what the man meant who coined the phrase "an ear splitting roar". What effect does it have on a player?
How would you feel if an over-whelming crowd of people watched over you as you did your job, all of them cheering and jeering and hoping that you would fall down on the job.
The wrath of such a hostile crowd hacks away at a fellow' nervous system, hounding his confidence and undermining his concentration and skill. The individual effect is a matter of degree with each player depending upon his temperament. The team effect is something harder to define, depending on the relationship and confidence the players have in one another.
A player grows with experience to understand this pressure. This does not mean that it doesn't effect him - it just affects him less. At times, too, according to his mood, he is more vulnerable. If he is having a bad spell of form the crowd can have a terrible effect on him.
by Sassafras on Sat Jun 20th, 2009 at 05:08:49 AM EST
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