Johannesburg - The tide has turned in football stadiums as supporters now sing instead of blowing on the noisy and annoying (for some) vuvuzelas.
From bands to singing, a new movement of supporters has swept the Absa Premiership and this has signalled the slow death of the once-famous vuvuzela.
Bloemfontein Celtic led the way and now Mamelodi Sundowns’ supporters have followed suit, singing long after the final whistle.
This has prompted players of the two clubs to join the singers in appreciation of the support.
Other clubs, such as SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits, call in small brass bands to entertain their supporters.
But one of the last men standing - Saddam Maake - said he would not be captured, and added that vuvuzelas wouldn’t be destroyed by anyone, “even the Guptas”.
But his peers have urged him to join them and be part of the growing movement.
“It’s clear that if you can’t beat them, join them,” said Mama Joy Chauke of Orlando Pirates. “This has been a long time coming and we need to move with the times. I don’t have a problem with the vuvuzela, but I think it has passed its sell-by date.
“It is no longer a thing for us; singing is. At least many people can sing all at once, unlike a few individuals blowing vuvuzelas.”
The popular Pirates’ supporter said that, unlike singing, vuvuzelas don’t have a meaning.
“Before matches, we sing along with CDs and, during the game, depending on what is happening on the field, we sing songs relevant to the moment. If the team is trailing, there are songs to encourage the players and, if we are winning, we also sing to keep the momentum going. Win or lose, we are there.”
She said supporters should ditch vuvuzelas as “they are just nice noise without any meaning”.
But Maake hit back at detractors, saying they did not know the true meaning of the horn.
“It is not going to die. You can quote me on that,” said Maake.
“Vuvuzelas inform people when we leave for the stadiums and let people know when we get there. They also announce our return from matches.”
But he conceded that the instrument annoyed supporters because it was noisy.
“We always encourage supporters to sit accordingly. Those who love it should go to one place, another group singing should stay together and the gabula group (those who consume alcohol) should be on their own. All these people cannot mix,” he said.
“You cannot just sit there and say you don’t like it.”
Maake said the problem was that some supporters liked to go overboard with the instrument and he cautioned them.
“You can’t blow it in someone’s ear or to underage kids, during a moment of silence or when the national anthem is being sung.
“There is just no order at all when you blow it during those times.”
Popular Celtic supporter Botha Msila had nothing but praise for the supporters who have embraced singing.
Msila, who sings non-stop during matches, said it was about time vuvuzelas took a back seat.
“(The) vuvuzela is no more, it is gone and we must celebrate its death. #vuvuzulamustfall,” said Msila.
He said he was happy with Sundowns’ movement, saying it was proof that it can be done.
“If they can do it, so can Chiefs and Pirates. They must just copy what we are doing and you will see supporters start flocking to stadiums,” Msila said.
“You will never hear supporters booing players and if we can instil that passion in ourselves, then it will go to the players as well.”
He said the job of a supporter was to show support in good and bad times.
“A real supporter doesn’t boo a player or a coach, but supports the team. It is about time we showed that we are the 12th player in the team - win or lose - and must play a major role in motivating the players.”
He said his mission was to get both Chiefs and Pirates supporters to follow suit.
“It is now or never. I see some Pirates supporters have started grouping themselves and this is good for our football.
“All they need to do is form one big group - instead of having a few smaller groups - so they sing in unison.”
Although he understands that there are many Chiefs supporters and that it is difficult to get them into one stand together, he said he would preach the gospel to them as well.
“We must unite all the way because this shows the vibe and passion we need at stadiums.”
It seems like Maake is on his own on this one, and many of his friends have joined the singers.
But he has remained defiant, saying the vuvuzela is here to stay - even if he is the last man playing it.
After all, he is the one who started it in the 1980s.
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