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Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo

DOES the use of juju in foot­ball re­ally en­hance a player’s per­for­mance? Can foot­ball play­ers in Zim­babwe take to the field with­out first vis­it­ing the muthi man for lucky charms?

Some peo­ple have ar­gued over the years that African teams would be dom­i­nat­ing world foot­ball if juju re­ally worked, as su­per­sti­tion is abound on the con­ti­nent that you can­not have a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as a player or coach with­out us­ing some charms, magic or muthi.

Juju is an ac­cepted re­al­ity in the African be­lief sys­tem and most mis­for­tunes give cre­dence to the be­lief. It’s used ei­ther to curry favour with those in au­thor­ity or to dis­able the abil­ity of a ri­val or en­emy.

It comes and is used in dif­fer­ent forms that in­clude plant­ing it by the goal area, blow­ing some pow­der onto the pitch, uri­nat­ing on the pitch be­fore kick-off, bathing in wa­ter mixed with muthi, smear­ing the muthi all over one’s body, drink­ing some con­coc­tions and per­form­ing some bizarre rit­u­als in the nude, among oth­ers.

Re­cent events in Zim­babwe’s topflight league have shown that teams ac­tu­ally be­lieve in the use of sup e rnat u r a l pow­ers in the game. It’s use, how­ever, does not al­ways guar­an­tee suc­cess as three sus­pected juju in­ci­dents re­ported in the past two week­end match days proved. The first was the epic clash pit­ting the coun­try’s two big­gest sides High­landers and Dy­namos at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium, which Bosso won 2-1. When Dy­namos play­ers and of­fi­cials alighted from their team bus at the sta­dium, they re­fused to en­ter the pitch via the away team’s dress­ing room. In­stead, they chose to use a gate on the wing stand close to the Mpilo End. Dy­namos be­lieved that a spell had been cast in the vis­it­ing team’s dress­ing room that would have caused their play­ers to per­form badly and the use of a dif­fer­ent en­trance would ren­der the muthi in­ef­fec­tive. As the re­sult later proved, be­sides caus­ing dis­or­der, Dy­namos’ su­per­sti­tious stance turned out to be just psy­cho­log­i­cal or mind games that didn’t work. A week later, High­landers play­ers faced an­other juju stunt that, how­ever, seemed to af­fect their con­fi­dence against lowly Mutare City Rovers at the same venue.

Al­though Bosso went on to scrap a 2-1 win, the use of sus­pected juju by Mutare City play­ers vexed the home team that saw them miss­ing a yawn­ing

Kennedy Nde­bele Sus­pected juju found at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium on Sun­day dur­ing the High­lander­sMutare City Rovers Chibuku Su­per Cup first round match

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