South Africans toot their own horns

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:00 PM ET

Proud South Africans literally will be tooting their own horns during World Cup 2010.

And if opposing coaches like Brazilís Dunga don't like it, well, too bad.

During the 2009 Confederation Cup in South Africa, players and officials from teams like Japan and Brazil complained about being distracted by the constant wailing of the vuvuzelas, the horns being trumpeted by fans in the stands.

Despite calls from a number of nations to have the vuvuzelas banned from the World Cup, FIFA stood firm and said the horns would be allowed, bringing a semblance of South African culture to the tournament.

However irritating to the ear they might be.

The vuvuzela, a one-metre long horn made of plastic, has become a common piece of equipment for rabid South African soccer fans.

Originally constructed of tin, the vuvuzela trickled into South African stadia in the 1990s. With African legend claiming baboons could be killed off with a lot of noise, the horns soon became a symbol for spectators to kill off the opposition.

Descriptions vary concerning the noise produced by the vuvuzela. The honking of an elephant. The bellowing tones of a foghorn. An animal in agony. Take your pick.

From a North American perspective, the vuvuzela is a direct cousin of those plastic horns that, at one time, used to be omnipresent at Canadian Football League games.

As the World Cup approaches, teams are not the only ones whining about the presence of vuvuzelas. Broadcasters are fearful the noise from the horns might drown out their attempts to clearly describe the play-by-play.


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