By Chris Makhaye

Local soccer lovers are over the moon at Fifa's decision to lift the ban on vuvuzelas during the 2010 World Cup.

The decision was taken on Friday after South African football officials made representations for the ban to be lifted to add to the atmosphere during the games. To avoid ambush marketing and advertising campaigns by companies not part of Fifa's official sponsors for this tournament, only vuvuzelas free of advertising or promotional signage will be allowed.

Saddam Maake, Kaizer Chiefs supporters' spokesperson credited with popularising the instrument, said he was delighted to hear the news.

"When we got the message that vuvuzelas were going to be banned, we were disappointed. We knew it had become part of our culture and offered free entertainment during matches," he said.

"I felt over the moon when I heard about the lifting of the ban," he said.

Critics of the vuvuzela say the instrument is blown haphazardly and the loud noise detracts spectators' attention from the game.

Maake said fans need to be educated on how to blow the vuvuzela. "They have to know that you cannot blow it during moments of silence and when they blow it during the game they should do it to make rhythmic music."

Orlando Pirates' leading supporter, Mzion Mofokeng, said Fifa's initial ban was out of step.

Other fans also welcomed the move. Bongani Ndlela, an Orlando Pirates supporter from Umlazi, said, "I think it is fantastic news. We cannot imagine a soccer game played in South Africa without vuvuzelas. It has become a norm for us to carry and blow vuvuzelas."

The Local Organising Committee spokesperson Tim Modise was not available for comment on this issue on Saturday.