Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Witchcraft Rears Its Head Again in African Football

We talked about juju, the art of African witchcraft about a year ago on this blog.

Back then, we stated that
it has long been common for soccer teams to turn to witchcraft, or juju, to gain a competitive edge. Teams might, for example, summon witch doctors to cast spells on opposing teams. Because of the secrecy surrounding such practices, it's difficult to tell how widespread they are in Africa today.

Today, news that the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) has promised to wage a battle against the use of Juju by member clubs.

"Any team that tries to express or show signs of practicing witch-craft or juju will be penalized, because we do not believe such practice can improve football in our zone," a news release stated.

For as long as anyone can remember, juju has been prevalent in African football and there is no sign of it going away.

Incidences of the use of external forces, other than the true science of football are a common feature in African football.

A vivid example occurred in Rwanda in a league match between club sides Rayon Sport and Atraco.

During the match, one player spent the entire game not only protecting his goalkeeper but also his 'magic stick' that he had planted in the goal.

MY POV: I'm not touching this subject with a ten-foot cattle prod.

But it's certainly an interesting subject and one feature of African football that fascinates me.

Surely there are interesting rituals in Western sports?

In the United States, ex-baseball player Wade Boggs of the New York Yankees used to eat chicken at a specified time every day. Every day, no matter what!
Can anyone think of any other strange rituals from sports?

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