World Cup Diary: can somebody call security
While the personal security of fans at the World Cup has generally been good, with only minor crimes committed against visitors, there’s been industrial chaos surrounding the payment of security staff and sales staff at some of the stadiums here in South Africa.
Tear gas was used on the staff at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Sunday when theyh refused to disperse after being promised a pretty modest 300 rand (about $50) for working that night, only to be given an even less generous 200 rand (about $35).
As the tensions have flared at other grounds all security staff have been stood down and replaced with police at Moses Mabhida, at Green Point in Cape Town, and also at Soccer City in Joburg. There is so much anger among the security workers that the newspapers are saying the biggest security threat to future games may atually come from disgruntled security workers themselves.
The mind-numbing din of the vuvuzela has set some creative minds tow rok as some broadcasters experiment with sound technology to block out the noise from the trumpets. Waves Audio, a company in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been working in conjunction with a major television broadcaster to create a system to neutralise vuvuzela noise. “Waves crafted a real-time processing chain consisting of two plugins which proved effective in solving the task at hand: The WNS Waves Noise Suppressor and the Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer. These two audio plugins together not only reduce the vuvuzela noise, they increase the intelligibility of the game announcers’ play-by-play action and color commentary.” The BBC has been looking at similar technology. As of Wednesday it had received 554 complaints about the vuvuzelas ruining Martin Tyler’s silky commentary.
If you’re not annoyed enough by the vuvuzelas, there’s always the World Cup song Waka Waka by Shakira. It sort of goes Waka Waka Waka Waka Waka Waka Waka Waka Waka Waka Waka - and who are we to criticise given that our national sporting song is Aussie Aussie Aussie. That said, it has been played an annoying 518 times on radio in the past month, according to official figures released by Afstereo.
The Sowetan newspaper reports that angry Nigerian fans have demanded a please explain from FIFA after they were prevented from bringing live chickens into the game against Argentina last Saturday. While not explaining the importance of the live chooks to their fans, the Nigerian media has been revving the issue up, with one caller telling talkback radio: “We always bring chickens to matches. At the World Cup in France in 1998 we had no problems taking them in. If the French let us, why can’t the South Africans?” A fair question.
As our nation continues to reel psychologically from last Sunday’s atrocity, here’s another handy fact which we can add to our excuse file. The Germans are the only side in the World Cup who have been using the controversial Jabulani ball for the past four months and are much better equipped to deal with it than any other side in the comp. Adidas meanwhile are defending the ball saying that it’s the altitude in South Africa, and not the design of the ball, which players are struggling with.
The greatest lover’s tiff in world sport continues unabated with Diego Maradona and Pele exchanging barbs again. Pele has questioned Maradona’s committment to coaching the Argentine national team, saying he only did it because he was unemployed and desperate for cash. Maradona has hit back and sezied on Pele’s criticisms of the South African tournament organisers, saying it was ironic that a “dark gentleman” such as Pele would question the first African host of the World Cup. Maradona famously pipped Pele a few years back in an online poll to identify the greatest player of all time, with angry Brazilians saying the more affluent Argies had better computer access than they did and all logged on and stacked the poll.
Portuguese mega-spunk Cristiano Ronaldo has followed the first rule of Twitter - if you’ve got something inane and uninteresting to say, share it with the world. “Because of all the preparations I’ve hardly been able to tweet,” Ronaldo said, uninterestingly, on Wednesday. Several teams including England, Spain and Mexico have banned their players from tweeting during the Cup. Not so the passionate South Americans with Brazilian star Kaka tweeting “I love you” to his wife after she had earlier tweeted “You’re the love of my life”, while Argie Sergio Aguero sent birthday wishes to his family back in Buenos Aires.
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