Editorial: Last post for infernal vuvuzela

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Around this time tomorrow morning, the ground staff will be swarming over the pitch at Soccer City in Johannesburg, beginning the repair job on the turf scarred by the flailing boots of desperate players.

The cleaners and sweepers will be moving through the stands amid an unfamiliar quiet. For once, people will be able to hear themselves think, because the air will not be rent with the sound of those infernal vuvuzelas.

The din of the plastic horns will be the most distinctive single memory of the FIFA World Cup 2010 more than the profanity-spouting English striker Wayne Rooney, the disconsolate Argentine coach Diego Maradona or even the diving players who managed to make a brush of buttocks look like a compound fracture of the femur.

The fair-weather fans of the beautiful game who take an interest only once every four years might have been forgiven for trying to adjust their television sets when they first tuned in all those weeks ago: the buzzing sound, like an angry super-heavyweight mosquito, could easily have been mistaken for some sort of catastrophic electronic fault.

As the news spread that this was what we were going to have to put up with for the whole tournament, alarm settled in. Broadcasters moved to tune their audio feeds so the stadium noise was muffled which made the experience oddly distant but was preferable to the alternative.

Finally, though, we all accepted it was part of the flavour of the first World Cup to be staged in Africa.

The quid pro quo is that the rest of the world is entitled to expect the vuvuzela to stay in Africa. Rugby World Cup organisers have already made it plain that the instruments (which, let us remember, produce a B-flat note at around 120dB - the threshold of pain and the sound of a 747 taking off 60m away) will be banned from games here.

More strenuous action may be called for: a vuvuzela-wielding supporter blasted a linesman at a Chatham Cup football match in Glenfield last weekend.

In short, one country's cultural accoutrement is another's offensive weapon. Let's hope we've heard the last of the vuvuzela.

- Herald on Sunday

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