Johannesburg - Travelling Mamelodi Sundowns supporters are in for a rude awakening in Japan on Sunday.
About 60 fans, who have joined the Caf Champions League champions at the Fifa Club World Cup, will experience more than just culture shock – they will not be allowed to blow their vuvuzelas, like they do at home with such relish.
The Brazilians begin their campaign against J League champions Kashima Antlers in a 12:30 kick-off, South Africa time.
The Japanese outfit will be aiming to make full use of their homeground advantage and thwart Sundowns’ enterprising forwards.
According to the rules and regulations, and the spectator guide on Fifa’s website, followers are barred from blowing vuvuzelas and even carrying them into stadiums is frowned upon.
Fifa banned the instrument before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in its revised stadium code of conduct, after it became a controversial symbol of the 2010 global football showpiece in South Africa.
According to Fifa, prohibited items include all types of horns (such as gas, cheer, vuvuzelas), whistles and laser pointers, as well as other instruments and audio equipment that may violate match organisation – this excludes authorised drums and loudspeakers.
Fifa expressly prohibits “actions/behaviours that disturb other spectators and compromise management of the match for other fans”.
While most Downs devotees have reluctantly laid down their vuvuzelas, they will be happy that they will be able to sing their lungs out and show their support for the club.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane once confessed that the Masandwana management sometimes sing along with their fans from the bench.
In October, Sundowns supporters stormed the Borg el-Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, and sang at the top of their voices when the Brazilians took on Zamalek in the CAF Champions League final.
Hopefully, the team will be able to lift the spirits of their fans and extinguish their disappointment at not being able to blow their vuvuzelas at their exploits on the field.
. Meanwhile, despite Bafana Bafana’s failure to qualify for the 2017 Caf Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, the country will still be represented at the biennial tournament in some form.
Two South African match officials – Daniel Bennett and Zakhele Siwela – will hoist the country’s flag at the 31st edition of the tournament after being included in the list of officials who will handle matches in the central African country.
The tournament starts on January 14 and ends on February 5.