It’s started, it’s started!!!!

11 06 2010

The World Cup started roughly an hour ago. 10 minutes after the start we had to stop watching “the greatest thing on earth”™ becuase we appeared to have developed tinnitus. We left the room and the tinnitus miraculously stopped so we went back, the tinnitus also returned. We should have realised that it was those infernal vuvuzela horns all along. They were so off-putting you couldn’t even hear Peter Drury patronising everything in sight. Bloody hell, only 94 games to go.

Our team, Uruguay,  is in South Africa’s group so we’ll be watching them later. It seems that we’re not the only ones to have taken a fancy to them. Even South Africans have reasons to support them.

“Once the World Cup hosts have got the action under way in South Africa on Friday afternoon the drone of the vuvuzelas might die down and the sound of drums should come through as the second game kicks off in Cape Town. They might sound straight out of Africa but the drums will be pounding for Uruguay, telling a tale that stretches across oceans, religions and races.

It is entirely fitting that Uruguay grabbed the last place in the 2010 tournament – and not only because they were the first champions. Africa’s World Cup is surely strengthened by the presence of the country that did most to pioneer the selection of people of African descent.

One of them, Isabelino Gradin, was top scorer in the first Copa America in 1916. Three years later he played in the third version of the tournament in Brazil, where his presence had a huge motivational effect on his forbears from Africa, If ever a player deserves a statue for his influence on the development of the global game, it is Gradin.

His presence in the sky blue shirt of Uruguay was not a coincidence. It was the product of enlightened social policies in the country at the start of the 20th century, where Uruguay attempted to replace the feudal hierarchies so common in South America with a prototype welfare state.

Football came to the continent brought by the British and full of first world prestige. In Brazil the game endured a difficult journey as it spread down from well-heeled students to the sons of slaves. The aristocrats fought hard to keep it to themselves. Policies of social inclusion meant that this process took place quicker in Uruguay. The country had – and still has – a small population but it was soon able to call on talent from all backgrounds, which helps explain why Uruguay were so good so early.

The drums of candombe – the name of the Uruguayan rhythm – pounded out for Gradin and Jose Leandro Andrade, the hero of the triumphs of the 1920s, and for Obdulio Varela, the great captain of the 1950 side – nowadays they pound out for left wing-back Alvaro Pereira. But they don’t just pound out for him. They do so for the whole team. Candombe has clear African roots but today’s drummers are just as likely to be descendants of Spanish or Italian immigrants. The rhythm is part of Uruguay’s cultural heritage.

Many of the South African population seem to have adopted Brazil as their second team. Perhaps they should also follow Uruguay – though not, of course, on 16 June when the Sky Blues are up against the Bafana Bafana and the vuvuzelas will drown out the candombe drums…..”

Where the Jet Set leads, the world follows.

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2 responses

11 06 2010
Kowalski

Scorn the horn, fly the Uruguayan flag out of your window!

11 06 2010
guyincognito76

Scorn the horn.

Stop being so cynical Mr Set, we know you love it really.

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