Japan ask South Africa to ban vuvuzela

TOKYO - Japan's football chief has joined in the chorus of protestors wanting the noisy vuvuzela trumpet to be banned from next year's World Cup in South Africa.

FIFA had previously rejected calls for a ban on the plastic instrument but Japan have now appealed to South African officials after playing a friendly against the World Cup hosts at the weekend.

"We have requested that the South African FA cut that noise out," Japan Football Association (JFA) president Motoaki Inukai was quoted as saying in Tuesday's edition of the Sankei Sports newspaper.

"You can't hear yourself speak. I will be bringing it up (with FIFA president Sepp Blatter)," Inukai added after Japan's 0-0 draw with South Africa in Port Elizabeth.

Japan defender Tulio said: "You can't hear what your team-mates are saying from two metres away. You have to go up to them to give instructions."

The vuvuzela is synonymous with South African football fans but the incessant noise from the air horns triggered complaints from players, coaches and broadcasters during this year's Confederations Cup.

Television networks complained that the sound drowned out their commentary, while top players including Spain's Xabi Alonso called for the trumpet to be banned.

Asked for his thoughts on the subject after Saturday's stalemate, Japan coach Takeshi Okada responded dryly: "Perhaps if they play good football (the fans) will be quiet and watch."