Vu Vu Vu! The Power of the Vuvuzela

March 1, 2010

South African fans with a Vuvuzela
For the biggest stars in soccer today, the memories that they create and relive for the rest of their lives at the World Cup this summer may be remembered with the relentless buzzing sound that will echo throughout every stadium in South Africa. Those not used to hearing the drowning sound of 50 000 Vuvuzelas may need to download a sample of the popular instrument to adjust their ears come June. This of course is because of FIFA’s legalization and allowance of the Vuvuzela during matches at the World Cup. Now, the instrument that is usually only heard during South African league games and international friendly’s held in the country, will be the soundtrack for every game this summer.

Measuring approximately a meter in length and requiring the lung capacity of a marathon runner to use for 90 minutes, the Vuvuzela is the popular South African horn used by fans at almost every sporting event. The horn produces an extremely loud noise that is very distracting to those unfamiliar with it.

The decision to allow the Vuvuzela is a way of FIFA integrating a flavor of South African culture into the tournament, which could come at the cost of undermining player’s ability to perform. Even though communication on the pitch is hard enough as it is when a stadium is packed to maximum capacity, the addition of the Vuvuzela in every other hand will increase noise, and communication difficulty between players, exponentially.

Yet maybe people are looking at this pessimistically and need to reevaluate their stance on the issue. Maybe FIFA is simply adding an extra variable to the difficult World Cup preparation equation. If coaches need to pre-drill their players on coping with the Vuvuzela sound, an extra measurement of skill and focus has been added to the World’s biggest sporting event.

Charles, a City College graduate student and England fan has a different take on the issue. “These players for the most part are highly skilled professionals who play in conditions with far greater distractions than the Vuvuzela: personal, derogatory chants in England, flares and fireworks in Turkey, and not to mention the perennial racist chants and monkey noises made by Italian fans anytime a black player touches the ball. If some people have a problem with something as non-offensive as the Vuvuzela then they ought to find a quieter sport. Curling perhaps…”

Regardless of how it is viewed, the Vuvuzela will be present at the World Cup and teams have been warned, here’s to hoping that nobody underestimates its power.


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