Juju man to decide World Cup?

Reading time 2 min.

Traditional medicines and witch doctors could be allowed in South Africa for the 2010 Word Cup of football, according to FIFA’s third International Football Medicine Conference currently held in Sun City. But does voodoo really work?

Has the world soccer governing body FIFA given teams, particularly
African ones, a green light to use traditional medicines and consult
witch doctors or juju man during the World Cup finals?

Information coming out from the just ended Third International
Football Medicine Conference at Sun City, South Africa this week seem
to suggest so.

Close to 300 sport physicians, physiotherapists and the team doctors
of the 32 participating teams at this year’s World Cup were in attendance.

Not too concerned

But on the use of “undetectable stimulants derived from traditional
African medicines that aren’t currently banned substances”, FIFA sounds
a little worried.

FIFA’s chairperson of the medical committee Michel D’Hooghe is today
quoted saying FIFA “is not too concerned about the use of traditional African medicines during the World Cup”.

“We must insist that we do not know much about it. We have learned
these products can have diuretic and some a stimulating effect,” says

D’Hooghe said he became aware of the extent of the issue at FIFA’s medical conference this weekend ahead of the World Cup in South Africa, which starts on June 11.

Found in Ghana

South African team doctor Ntlopi Mogoru said the plants, usually found
in tropical African countries like Ghana, can produce steroid by-products that are not on WADA’s list and aren’t picked up in doping tests.

But what of the famous Juju man or special team advisors. In African soccer, stories of Juju man and black magic are simultaneously fun, controversial and misleading. They are also extraordinarily common.

Most footballers in Africa use this method of getting back to one’s roots before a big match.

A witch doctor or juju man are known to perform many wonders from casting spells over soccer balls or a player’s uniform before a game to smearing their teams’ goalposts with magic potions to keep balls out.

Superstition runs deep in Africa, and sports-related juju reflects that. Many spectators watch the bouncing ball at soccer matches but keep one eye on suspicious individuals on the sidelines who might be trying to put a hex on the action.

Juju man team at WC ’74

Back in 1974, the Leopards of Zaire took a team of witch doctors to the team’s World Cup matches.

Unfortunately, something went awry. The side fell to Scotland and Brazil in the opening matches and was then walloped 9 to 1 by Yugoslavia

However, if Juju really works, will any African team that uses juju and wins the World Cup be dismissed as coincidence? It’s only four months left to get a proper verdict.

2010 World Cup  South Africa's preparation to host the games on African soil for the first time but also individual African countries' determination to take part in the historic event. Five African countries - Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa and Ghana - are selected to join twenty seven teams from around the world to battle it out on the football pitch for the gold trophy. One by one, the African teams are eliminated, but Africans will not be bogged down as they rally behind their compatriots on the wings of the vuvuzela, a far cry from the near diplomatic row between Algeria and Egypt during the qualifiers. Ghana are the last team to leave but not before African unity becomes reality...
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