Vuvuzelas are ''World Cup''s symbol'' say organisers

JOHANNESBURG: They might be driving some players and supporters to distraction but World Cup organisers on Saturday decreed that the ear-splitting vuvuzela trumpet was the symbol of the tournaement.

"Everybody loves vuvuzelas," Rich Mkhondo, spokesman for the Local Organising Committee said at a press conference. "They are the symbol of the tournament."

The tuneless plastic horns, which generate more decibels than a drum or chainsaw, have split opinion almost as much as they have split ears.

Commentators struggled to make themselves heard during the opening matches of the month-long tournament which kicked off on Friday. Many spectators have complained of headaches and some players say they affect their concentration.

However FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said they are part of African football culture and South Africa''s goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune complained they were not loud enough at the hosts'' tournament opener against Mexico.

"We want more support and louder vuvuzelas when we play our next match against Uruguay in Pretoria on Wednesday," he said. "We could hardly hear the fans who were quiet at stages during the game."

Mkhondo said that no complaints about the vuvuzela had been lodged while a spokesman for FIFA said that fans had so far respected calls not to blow their horns at sensitive moments.

"A few days ago, FIFA asked the fans to respect the ceremonies, speeches and anthems," said the spokesman Nicolas Maingot. "We have had no problem with that".