Kicking up a stink over World Cup fans

I’m not the most excitable person when it comes to watching football but the World Cup is giving me a real buzz.

I’M not the most excitable person when it comes to watching football but the World Cup is giving me a real buzz. And I can’t say I like it very much.

This is the first time the best soccer competition on Earth has been held in Africa, of course, and many of us are finding it a whole new ball game.

Traditions established over years have been abandoned, or at least drowned out. Fans across the world, except in Africa, are used to singing their songs, banging their drums, whirling their rattles (although there is not as much of that as there used to be), shouting encouragement to their teams and, most important of all, giving helpful guidance to referees such as advising on the best opticians.

None of all that is possible now in South Africa and the sole reason is the vuvuzela. Very few people outside of the continent had heard of this musical instrument until the tournament kicked off.

Now everyone who takes an interest in soccer knows exactly how it sounds – and I suspect most have taken an instant dislike.

The vuvuzela used to be made from animal horn but now the ubiquitous plastic is used for its construction.

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It is said to be part of South African football-supporting tradition, but it has given the rest of us a rude awakening to the way of things there.

Some say the noise is like a herd of stampeding elephants but to my ear they are more like the fluctuating, deafening drone of a swarm of bees. And it does not take long after the start of a match for it to become very annoying.

I’m not the only one who dislikes this constant background noise. Many fans have complained along with broadcasters and players themselves who find their concentration is affected and they can’t even hear the referee’s shrill whistle.

I’m not one for imposing bans but in this case I go along with those who have called for these instruments of torture to be outlawed inside stadiums.

Tournament organiser FIFA has turned this down, but its chief was quoted as helpfully saying: “We have asked for no vuvuzelas during national anthems or stadium announcements.”

Fat chance of that – no one will know when the recorded band strikes up or the hapless announcer begins to speak.

I can’t say I have enjoyed the tournament much so far. Patriotism apart, poor old England have not started well and I imagine the country will be plunged into despair if the boys do not have a convincing victory over lowly Algeria tomorrow. Perish the thought of suffering a defeat. But the blame for that could be put on the vuvuzela for interfering with Wayne Rooney’s brainwaves or making Robert Green’s hands twitch at the wrong time. There’s always an excuse, we are good at coming up with them.