Who’s got your vuvuzela?

The World Cup has just begun, and already several upsets have occurred, starting with Ghana’s defeat of Serbia. You may have seen a game or two – if you are American, you might have been delighted with the tie against England; one of my German clients euphorically texted me a few moments ago during the first half of Germany’s game against Australia. That game is now at half-time with Germany in a comfortable 2:0 lead, and listening to the constant and deafening drone of the vuvuzelas (the blowing horn that, when multiplied by a few thousand fans, creates the sound of a colossal bee hive) and remembering the last two World Cups with the outstanding performances of the host countries, South Korea and Germany, I wonder how much of a difference can be attributed to the concept of home advantage.

A lot of research has been done on this well-documented phenomenon, and there is no doubt that when Mexico, on paper clearly the stronger team compared to their first opponent South Africa, came onto the pitch they found it hard to ignore the overpowering mood of the arena that ultimately saw them tie against “Bafana Bafana”. Ghana, too, like other African nations boasted a strong following. I don’t want to overanalyze the premier sporting event in the world, but two questions come to my mind. The predictable question is this: how will Germany – assuming they will maintain their pace against Australia in the imminent second half – fare against Ghana?

The second question is not related to football (or soccer if you prefer) at all. It is this: can we all cultivate our own vuvuzela section? To be more succinct as it relates to the professional setting: where is your “home advantage”, and how do you use it to stage your most important moments?

Time for the second half of the game – let’s see if Germany can sustain its pace!