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Vuvu loses her voice to an African song

The overriding memory of World Cup 2010 will be the sound of the vuvuzuela. Even in the drabbest of games, Vuvu’s lament has had a mesmerising quality. Football will never be the same again.

The first two weeks were dominated by the horn of Africa, ambush marketing and self-destructing Frenchmen. Given their recent tournament record, France’s collective suicide shouldn’t have surprised anyone, but still it did. Even President Sarkozy craved an audience with France’s handball king Thierry Henry.

England boss Il Duce’s South African campaign started with fanfares and ended in a predictable anticlimax with the parting of Upson and Terry by Thomas Mueller. The Hand of Clod seems a dim memory now, although one that Robert Green is sure to be reminded of this season in between vuvu blasts.

Following Lampard’s goal that never was, FIFA will now consider whether goalline technology or Michel Platini’s job-creation programme for fifth and sixth officials should be introduced. In keeping with the spirit of the age, the final decision will be made by Paul the Octopus and televised globally. Viewing figures are expected to be slightly higher than for Sunday’s final, with Budweiser having naming rights.

The hosts crashed out not once but twice. After South Africa’s early bath, surrogate host nation Ghana joined them in the tub after the quarterfinals as Asamoah Gyan nailed the African dream to the Uruguayan crossbar with a semifinal berth beckoning. Fortunately for him, Luis Suarez had already been cast as World Cup villain for making the save of the tournament.

In a tournament dominated by the sound of the vuvuzuela, my Golden Bib for the outstanding contribution to the tournament goes to an African song that has more to do with blowing one’s own trumpet than anyone’s horn.

Despite making only a cameo performance as a 73rd minute substitute in Cameroon’s dead-rubber game with the Dutch, veteran defender Rigobert Song’s flowing dreadlocks were a throwback to the glory days of football. Back then, journalists focused on the proper stuff of football, such as players’ haircuts, rather than psychic squid.



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