World Cup: Are these the dying notes of those dreadful vuvuzelas?
We are talking about the appalling vuvuzelas, those cheap plastic noise-makers that have -- at least from an audio standpoint -- made this one of the most unpleasant World Cup tournaments to attend in person.
They will be there in full force again on Sunday, when the final is played at Soccer City. But when rugby moves into the same stadium on Aug. 21, when the Springboks, South Africa's world champion rugby team, play the New Zealand All Blacks, all will be back to normal. Crowd noise is all that will be heard.
A record turnout is expected for the match, which pits two of the world's top three traditional rugby powers (Wales being the other; sorry England), but the plastic horns will not be welcome.
"We'd rather not have vuvuzelas" a match organizer said in Johannesburg on Wednesday, adding that they drown out necessary communication between players.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the annoying horns have been banned from Eden Park in Auckland this weekend when South Africa plays New Zealand in another match in the Tri-Nations series, which also features Australia.
"I think it's a judgment call on whether to let in certain items," a stadium executive said. "Any vuvuzelas brought to the venue will be confiscated."
Back in Africa, several large shopping malls also have banned vuvuzelas after receiving complaints from their customers.
So they may go down in history as one of Sepp Blatter's lesser mistakes. The FIFA president could have issued an edict calling for a vuvuzela-free World Cup, but he bowed to local pressure and "tradition," and eardrums all across South Africa are the worse for it.
-- Grahame L. Jones in Johannesburg, South Africa
Photo: A Netherlands supporter blows a vuvuzela on Tuesday. Credit: Franck Fife / AFP / Getty Images.