Nationality concerns for Cameroon pair

Cameroon are still awaiting FIFA permission to field two players named in their preliminary squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Defender Gaetan Bong and forward Eric Choupo-Moting were not fielded alongside the other newcomers in the friendly against Georgia in Linz on Tuesday because world football's governing body had not yet given permission for them to switch nationality, coach Paul Le Guen told reporters.

Bong is a former French youth international while Choupo-Moting has won four caps for Germany at under-21 level. Both are of Cameroon descent and have dual nationality.
Under FIFA rules, players can change their footballing nationality if they have not been capped at senior level.

Authorities to check vuvuzela noise levels

World Cup authorities are doing tests on Thursday to check whether the ear-splitting din from South Africa's vuvuzela fan trumpets could pose a security risk during the tournament.

Foreign fans and players complained about the noise of the plastic trumpets, which sound like a herd of charging elephants, during last year's Confederations Cup -- a dress rehearsal for the soccer spectacular which starts on June 11.

Asked about the vuvuzelas again on Thursday, chief local organiser Danny Jordaan said the noise levels would be checked when South Africa play Colombia in a friendly World Cup warm up on Thursday night at the 90,000-capacity Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, when noise levels are likely to reach their peak.

Cow slaughtered at stadium to appease spirits

South African tribal chiefs and healers have slaughtered a cow outside Soccer City, the biggest stadium at the World Cup, as part of rituals to appease the spirits of ancestors and welcome fans.

Phepsile Maseko, national coordinator for the Traditional Healers' Organisation, said on Wednesday the ceremony was intended to cleanse the air and ensure spirits were not frightened by the many languages that would be spoken during the month-long tournament. Maseko said the ceremony was meant to cover all the World Cup's 10 stadiums, including Johannesburg's second stadium Ellis Park, where 43 fans died in a stampede at a local derby in 2001, the country's worst soccer disaster. "The spirits of those people are hanging over all of the stadiums. We need to cleanse those spirits," she said.

Spain players banned from tweeting

There is unlikely to be a tweet out of the Spain players at the World Cup after coach Vicente del Bosque banned them from using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook during the tournament.

The 23-players in the European champions' squad, including striker Fernando Torres, midfielder Xavi and goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas, met up at the Las Rozas training facility. A spokeswoman for the Spanish soccer federation ( said Del Bosque had told them they were not allowed to use the sites at any of the team's training camps or at the World Cup in South Africa starting on June 11. There are several examples of soccer players and other athletes getting themselves into trouble using the sites.

Million-dollar loss due  to counterfeiters

Fake World Cup souvenirs are costing FIFA's official suppliers millions of dollars in lost sales, an anti-counterfeit organisation said.

Fake shirts, flags and other souvenirs are available on South Africa's streets--often sold by traders at traffic lights.

"Despite efforts to clamp down on counterfeit goods coming mainly from China and other Asian countries, fake jerseys and other merchandise for national teams will be costing bonafide suppliers millions of dollars in lost revenue," the International Authentication Association (IAA) said in a statement.

IAA chairman Jim Rittenburg said many top sports brands were being hit hard by cheap imitations.