What in the name of St. Pele has FIFA gone and done? Amid never-ending accusations of match-fixing, FIFA has action by banning the use of vuvuzelas at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. In an attempt to maintain a ”Stadium Code of Conduct”, these noise makers that were so popular four years ago in South Africa have been deemed verboten by the overseers of the beautiful game.
It took the better part of a month four years ago for many of us casual spectators to realize that the constant drone wasn’t an audio problem with our new “watch-the-big-game-on-big-screen TV”. After countless adjustments to the volume and balance we gave up and watched with the sound off. It had to be an electronic issue at our end, because surely no one in their right mind would stay in a stadium for over two hours with that constant droning. It was at this point that I realized these folks weren’t in their right minds, screen shot after screen shot showed attendees necking long, thin flasks filled, no doubt, with some local moonshine concoction that made them oblivious to the hum, whatever its origin. In addition this alcohol-based drink seemed to whip them into a frenzy, because being soccer, nothing on the field could possibly lead to that kind of behaviour!
Once we caught on to the source of the noise, it kind of grew on us. The steady, perpetual murmur that formed the audio backdrop to the entire tournament engulfed us like a warm blanket as we gave in to the realization that it wasn’t going away. Broadcasters took up the topic and explained to the uninitiated how these horns are a mainstay of soccer in South Africa. (To be honest, I’ve seen Edmonton Eskimos’ fans blowing those things for years, but taking a breath every now and then.)
One rumour that made the rounds had many believing that the throb of the vuvuzelas had wafted on the warm African winds all the way to the Serengeti in Tanzania where it spurred an odd out-of-season mating frenzy among the wildlife. However I gnu this was just a rumour.
So now it’s World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Not that I can claim to have an extensive knowledge of things Brazilian – waxing and nuts come to mind – but somehow I just don’t imagine FIFA or any other governing body is going to be able to keep a stadium of Brazilian football fans from making as much noise as possible. Were it up to me I’d limit the use of noise-makers to the traditional Andy Capp grogger!