Black magic and football

Black magic and football

Black magic and football

Over the years football in Africa has been ordained by the belief in black magic and erroneous superstitions. Black magic is a popular art among local football administrators and some players as well. It is also proven and believed that some senior soccer coaches in the country trust in the power of magic.

Most prominent with Juju as its known in Kenya were perennial rivals AFC leopards and Gor mahia who for decades employed the art. To date these two teams do not use the conventional routes into the stadium with the belief their opponents have already contaminated them.

1998 in Kakamega while turning out for Western province in the Coca cola under 17 soccer championships, we had the best team in the tournament with no single goal against us throughout our preliminary matches, not until when our officials thought  we could not go past the equally competitive Nairobi. This notion led to forceful offertory of some powder to rub through our head and some bitter herbs which we were instructed to chew and the resultant concoction smeared on our hands before shaking our opponents’ hands.
Alas! Being loyal to our God, we defied the magician’s order of not turning to prayer and covered everything with a faithful call to Jesus, possibly that is what angered the gods, we were hammered badly by Nairobi in our own backyard and eliminated from the championship.

Vodoo as is most commonly known around the world is not only practiced in Kenya but is even worse in West Africa and North America. Benin for example is one such country where it’s believed lightening can be redirected to hit at a specific angle and person.

Back in 1974, the Leopards team of Zaire was accompanied by a team of witchdoctors who had promised victory to the team at the world cup. Poor them,The results should have turned the country against the magicians since the Zairians returned home with whole loads of goals from the world cup.

Back in Kenya, belief in sorcery is the order of the day both among players and officials of the game. Some disturbing confession by a former premier league player reveals that some teams went to extreme measures to collude with city mortuary officials, sneak dead bodies from the morgue to be placed on the roof of the team’s camp overnight. This was meant to repell the other team’s voodoo and bring luck to the later. Witchcraft also took the form of sacrifice of animals such as goats, cows and sometimes snakes whose blood would be sprinkled around the stadium, or the planting of magic wands and the burial of dead human body parts from mortuaries around the stadiums or close to the goal posts.

Just as the rivalry in Kenya between Gor Mahia and Afc leopards roared, in the neighboring Tanzania the situation was the same between Simba and yanga with both teams having sorcerers on their payroll.
This rivalry reached the premier intensity in 2004 before the two teams league final encounter when players from both sides were involved in bizarre rituals. The resultant punishment was a fine of 500 dollars to both teams by the Tanzanian football governing body.

Superstition runs deep in Africa. Besides the action on the pitch, spectators are very often keeping an eye on suspicious individuals on the sidelines who might be trying to change the course of the game.
Thank God for the revolution of football in Kenya. The last three years have seen a lot of changes in the governing and management of football  clubs with religion being among the strong pillars governing local soccer and local teams.
Last year’s premier league winners Sofapaka Fc is a Christian team who believe in Christian biblical ideals and do not subscribe to vodoooism.Another is Nairobi city stars which is a product of ambassadors in Christ.
As the curtains roll up for the first ever world cup in Africa, concerns have been raised  and FIFA is a little worried at the possibilities of players using undetectable stimulants derived from traditional medicine not listed as banned substances.
So does voodoo play a role in football or is it psychological?