THERE was a juju scare at Barbourfields Stadium home to Highlanders FC, Bulawayo City and Chicken Inn (depending on magnitude of match) when a a�?packagea�? was found a few metres from the Soweto Stand.
Soweto is where Highlandersa�� most passionate and eccentric supporters cheer the team from. The mystery package was found underneath the goalpost in front of the stand during the mid-season break.
The surprise experience was reportedly witnessed by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) workers who were giving the goalkeepers area a facelift during the break which ended on 31 July.
On condition of anonymity, a BCC worker, who was part of the local governmenta��s team that was working on the goalkeepera��s area in question, told B-Metro Sport that he was stunned to discover that the use of voodoo was actually a real thing in football.
a�?I got the shock of my life. I was really surprised to discover that the use of juju is real in football. There were a couple of things that were buried in and around the goalkeepera��s area. I saw bottles that contained water and tree roots. We also dug out rotten and fresh tree roots,a�? said a seemingly puzzled and ageing BCC council worker adding that they left their find at the stadium.
Spirited efforts to source the pictures of the Emagumeni biggest discovery drew a blank.
On Thursday Bulawayo City lost 1-0 against Herentals FC. Interestingly, the juju laced goal post is where the ball went in.
Juju beliefs and football
Does the use of juju, voodoo or witchcraft help teams to win football matches?
It is a question that has been around as long as football has been played on the continent.
Stories abound of charms, amulets and even animals buried in the vicinity of stadiums in order to bring success on the pitch.
Clubs often resort to using undesignated entry points to the stadium in an effort to avoid being a�?bewitcheda�? by the opposition.
Even a stray bird perched on top of a goalpost before a game can set the tongues of juju believers wagging.
On the local front, there are strong superstitious beliefs.
In Zimbabwean soccer, charms are as important as the training ground drills. And this could be an understatement.
It is reported thatA� many a coach in the countryA� would rather spend more time searching high and low for that sangoma (witch doctor) of repute than seeking the winning formula at the training ground. Bottles of urine, concoctions and raw pork are all an integral part of the game in Zimbabwe.
Memory Mucherahowa, the former Dynamos captain, spectacularly let the cat out of the bag in his candidly-written autobiography, Soul of Seven Million Dreams.
Mucherahohwa opened up on the use of juju at the countrya��s biggest football club with so much candidness that many were left spellbound.
Soul of Seven Million Dreams is a damning exposure by Mucherahowa, who dares to delve into the dark world of match-fixing, conflicts, backbiting among other vices of the game in Zimbabwe. But one of the issues that stand out in this book is juju. For example, Mucherahowa speaks on how he used to lead the Dynamos juju rituals before games.
He opens up on how iconic coach Sunday Chidzambwa held juju dear to his life. More revealingly to those not on the inside of Zimbabwean football, he speaks on how this wicked act is, in every way, part and parcel of a club that has won a record 22 Zimbabwean league titles a�� and reached the final of the African Champions League once.