x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

World Cup diary: South African killed in fight to watch football

A man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious programme was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country.

A South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious programme was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country, police said yesterday. David Makoeya, 61-year-old from the small village of Makweya, Limpopo province, fought with his wife and two children for the remote control on Sunday because he wanted to watch Germany play Australia. The others, however, wanted to watch a gospel show. "He said, 'No, I want to watch soccer'," Mothemane Malefo, a police spokesman, said. "That is when the argument came about. In that argument, they started assaulting him."

Warming lamps are being used at the shady end of Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in an effort to dry the pitch before today's match between Germany and Serbia.Heavy rain over the past three days has left the pitch waterlogged and forced Fifa to ban both Group D teams from training at the stadium on the eve of the match. A large tarpaulin was also placed on one end of the field, with about 30 large lamps heating the grass. Sunshine and blue skies returned to Port Elizabeth yesterday, when Serbia held a training session at a local university. Germany delayed their arrival in Port Elizabeth until late yesterday after training at their Pretoria base.

Organisers are making sure there will be no racket from vuvuzelas at the Wimbledon tennis championships in England. The plastic horns which have provided a constant drone at the World Cup will be banned from the grand slam tournament, which starts on Monday. Wimbledon said in a statement that the horns "could be very distracting to the players and spectators." In addition, no World Cup games will be broadcast on the big screens at Wimbledon and fans will not be allowed to bring large flags into the grounds.

A sombre and frail Nelson Mandela attended the funeral yesterday for his 13-year-old great-granddaughter, whose death in a car crash last week following the World Cup's opening concert marked a tragic start to the tournament. The 91-year-old anti-apartheid icon, whose public appearances are increasingly rare, emerged stiffly from a car and leaned on a walking stick. He was ferried in a golf cart to the brick chapel of the Johannesburg private school Zenani Mandela had attended and took a front pew.

Frozen pitches at Ghana's training base north of Rustenburg caused their practice session yesterday to be delayed for two hours. The west Africans were scheduled to start a private training session at nine in the morning but were told that the pitches at the Mogwase Stadium would be unfit for use.

A French cable TV channel is offering vuvuzela-free broadcasts for all matches at the World Cup, using frequency-separating technology to block out the trumpets' buzzing drone while letting other sounds come through. Canal Plus said the system was first tested on Tuesday. Cyrille Linette, the channel's head of sport, said the sound was "nearly perfect" for when Argentina beat South Korea 4-1 yesterday. The technology, based on splitting frequencies, reduces the vuvuzela buzz but allows other crowd noises and commentators' voices to be heard. It is developed by Audionamix, which works on sound effects for the cinema industry. The company that provides the broadcast feed for the World Cup has doubled its audio filters to reduce the buzz.

Police broke up a demonstration of some 200 stewards with rubber bullets and a stun grenade in a labour dispute linked to low pay for World Cup duties. Police superintendent Andre Traut said seven people were arrested but none injured during yesterday's midday protest outside the stewards' employer's offices in Cape Town. Police have taken responsibility for stadium security in Cape Town, both Johannesburg venues, and the grounds in Durban and Port Elizabeth since stewards began protests on Sunday night.

Police estimated about 1.56 million fans in South Korea came out yesterday to cheer in public squares, stadiums and other locations to watch their team lose 4-1 to Argentina. Nearly 1 million people turned out on Saturday night in the rain and were ecstatic when South Korea beat Greece 2-0 in their opening game.