Wave on the wane as fans opt to blow the vuvuzela

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s vuvuzela trumped the Mexican wave in the big match of the day in the stands while Mexico salvaged a late draw against the hosts in the World Cup opening game on Friday.

A fan blows the vuvuzela ahead of the 2010 World Cup opening match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Tens of thousands of fans blasted the plastic trumpet in the match against hosts South Africa, creating a cacophony of sound to spur their team on -- or to simply spar with other supporters.

The din was ceaseless throughout the 90 minutes of the match and many kept blowing their instruments through halftime. The only let-up was during the two national anthems before the match.

An early attempt at the circling crowd wave made famous during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, however, soon floundered.

More than 84,000 people were treated to a pulsating first match of the 2010 tournament at Johannesburg’s Soccer City, which ended 1-1 amid often deafening noise, and the South Africans want more of the same at their remaining Group A games.

“That is our 13th man. It is our weapon,” captain Aaron Mokoena said after the match.,

The trumpet has not been universally well received with some foreign players complaining it drowns out team communication and TV viewers saying the sound, much like a swarm of gigantic bees, is annoying.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk has banned spectators from blowing them at his team’s training sessions.

Mexican defender Carlos Salcido was not concerned, though.

“It is not a problem. The South Africans were having their party and that’s great. We were concentrating and it didn’t bother us,” he said.

On Friday the racket at times seemed almost rhythmical, developing into a contest between different corners of the stadium, and supporters taking turns to outblast the other side.

The noise reached a peak in injury time when the home supporters tried, and failed, to push Bafana Bafana to a late winning goal.

Editing by Jon Bramley