Grassroots Coaching

Football World Cup Trumpets

Football World Cup Trumpets – The sound of this World Cup will be the incessant noise of the “Vuvuzela”

To foreign football coaches and players they could be a curse, to South Africans they might yet be the secret weapon them helps them overcome one of the lowest ratings ever for a World Cup host nation.

Journalists covering warm-up games have realised they cannot communicate by phone over the noise the of thousands of “vuvuzelas”

Thailand manager Bryan Robson said after his team’s drubbing in a friendly by South Africa last month that he could not communicate with his players on the pitch.

After the 2002 World Cup I went to South Africa at the invitation of the South African World Cup Coach, Jomo Sono and experienced the cacophony of noise these trumpets create at matches.

I first met Jomo in Hong Kong, when South Africa were playing in a World Cup warm up competition, with Turkey, Scotland and a Hong Kong select team. I was working for the company that organised the tournament.

Jomo is a fascinating, hugely knowledgeable coach and football person. He played for New York Cosmos, with the great Pele and Franz Beckenbauer. He once scored four goals for South Africa against Argentina, and is one of South Africa’s outstanding players of all time.

He owns and manages a Premier League Team in South Africa, modestly named Jomo Cosmos. During the Hong Kong Tournament I got to know Jomo and we forged a friendship that resulted in Jomo inviting me to South Africa to watch some games and to see the set up of his club.

It was my first visit to this unbelievable country. Jomo and his assistant and minder, a 6.4 built like a brick outhouse, shaven headed African, cutely named “Linda”, met me at the airport and took me to my hotel. Linda was to be my guide during my time in South Africa. I soon realised that Jomo was a football legend in his own country. After dinner, the hotel Manager waived the bill, because he was so honoured to have Jomo eat in his restaurant!! I teased Jomo that it was really because Linda offered to do the washing up!! Everywhere we went, Jomo was treated like royalty.

During one conversation at his house in Johannesburg, Jomo was telling me about a “Brie” he had hosted a few weeks previously and he casually dropped in that Nelson, his neighbour, had called in for a few beers.

Nelson who? I ask. Oh, Nelson Mandela, says Jomo. Now that is name dropping.

The first game I go to watch is a big derby Match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Like many derby matches I have been to, the stadium was overflowing and the atmosphere crackled. The biggest difference was the noise. It was unbelievable and never stopped, not for one second.

Nearly every supporter had plastic trumpets, which I now found out are called “Vuvuzelas” I was sat next to Jomo and I couldn’t hear a word he said to me.

There wasn’t any pattern to the noise they made. Everyone made a difference noise. Some were very bass like and booming, other high tweeters, with many just making tuneless sounds. But my, how they liked to blow them. The sound never wavered, just got louder at different times in the game. But the other amazing thing was the dancing supporters. They swayed and jigged to the sounds generated by the trumpets, at times the whole crowd seemed to move as one. It was truly a remarkable experience.

“Welcome to South African Football” smiled Jomo.

I had a fascinating trip to South Africa and during the week I was there had a number of strange, bizarre and funny experiences, But more of them later in the blog!

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