THE cyclonic vortex and counter-vortex of football are always unleashed on the world from time to time. Nations, Coaches, and their footballers will strive to make their countries proud by winning Laurels in various competitions. But in their bid to win, multidimensional strategies ranging from lobbying, politicking, bribery, pecuniary inducement of match officials, football artistry, spiritisticsceances, technical depth, juju and voodoo etc. are always pragmatically applied. The infusion of transcendental and supernatural beliefs and practices in our quest to achieve success is a common phenomenon in our daily lives.
This quest is manifested in protean ways in Christianity, Islamism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, Voodooism etc. through rituals, sacrifices, prayers, beatific vision, necromancy, divination, divine afflatus, ancestral worship, fasting and praises. The various practitioners claim ultimately to be making atonements and propitiations to God Almighty through some mediums, spirits and celestial interlopers to gain success. Hence, MuhammedNagiub define religion as “a candle inside a multi-coloured lantern. Everyone looks through a particular colour, but the candle is always there.” Who will then win when all teams claim to be calling Almighty God through various modus operandi, including voodoo?
From the 1970’s down through the 1980’s till today some footballers, coaches, club owners and fans still consult parapsychologists, babalawos, diviners, clairvoyants and Jujumen. We recall that the Mighty Jets of Jos got to the Nigerian Challenge Cup Finals over 7 times without winning the cup. Everyone believed that they were jinxed and anesthetized through a curse placed on them. The then 11CC football club of Ibadan, Enugu Rangers, Warri Wolves, Eselemo Diamonds, Vipers, Bendel Insurance, Racah Rovers, New Nigerian Bank, Calabar Rovers, Stationery Stores, Abiola Babes, Sapele Bees, Leventis, Alyuf Salam and NEPA Football Club of Lagos had one form of Voodoo or Juju inclination or the other.
The English playwright William Shakespeare explicitly articulated the art of necromancy in his drama piece Macbeth. In his quest and overwhelming ambition for power Macbeth consulted the witches,who made their dreadful charms by which they called up the spirits of the dead to show them the future. Their horrible mixture and concoction was made up of toads, bats, and serpents, the eye of a newt, and the tongue of a dog, the leg of a lizard, and the wings of night-owl, the scale of a dragon, the tooth of a wolf, the belly of the salt-sea shark, the driest flesh of a witch, the root of a poisonous plant dug in the dark, the gall of a goat, and the liver of a jew with little pieces of the yew tree that grows in the graves, and the finger of a dead child. All these were set to boil in a great kettle of the baboon’s bloods. In Benin Republic and most African countries voodoo and juju remains a contemporary practice. In short most Africa countries go to football competitions with Juju and voodoo.
In 1974 this writer captain of St. Malachys’ Grammar School Sapele against the then Government Trade Centre, Amukpe-Sapele. Because of the long history of rivalry between the two schools, we resolved that this is a match that must be won by every and any means. We then opted for voodoo and juju. We got money and went to a native doctor in Jesse, a town close to Sapele. We bought a goat, old coins, oil, eggs, brooms and other ritualistic paraphernalia. The native doctor prepared a potion for us which we drank and bathed with the rest. He assured us that they have played the match in the coven already and that we will defeat Government Trade Centre, Sapele by 3 goals to nothing. That glorious day came and we were trounced, mauled and walloped 3 goals to nothing by GTCSapele. Our match autopsy showed that we were complacent because we taught voodoo/Juju will work for us. The native doctor later told us that we lost because we breached the rules of the gods. Till today we still trade blames among ourselves on why we lost that crucial match in 1974.
In football competitions, coaches, fans and nations come with a strong and unshakable belief in voodoo, but does voodoo work? The answers are as myriad and varied as there are persons based on their experiences. But I believe that voodoo works to a miniscule and limited extent against those who are sunken in the quagmire of spiritual indolence and spiritual negativity. It is a debased evil spirit that finds expression in its kind, because according to the laws of attraction of homogenous species, it flows to those in symmetry with its constituents. Indeed, like attract themselves and when they meet there is a spiritual chemistry but contrary spirits repulse themselves.
The human body and spirit is invulnerably encysted by an impregnable aura concretized by moral purity, good works and kindness. It is vulnerable as soon as we get involved in wicked, malicious and ungodly acts. But the mystery of these natural laws is that man is too much of a spiritual dwarf to comprehend how they work, hence they resort to depraved spiritual standards of voodoo and juju in football. What this writer is saying is that voodoo and juju works but only against those who share their voodooistic vibrations. We are all God’s children and His wish is to see all His children prosper. His light will shine on the good ones and the evil ones. How he grants his victory to one and failure to the other is only for Him to know. That is why He is God. But I know that a sound and undiluted belief in Him and His word will make one much more favourably disposed to enjoying His success. It is also clear that God will not work for you but will rather work with you. You must be set and prepared with your game plan and not only voodoo.
Finally, as all African Nations go into various Championships, we wish them all well and pray that it will bring out the best in the African personality and the glorious heights of football in Africa. We want to be able to boast that African Football has come of age in terms of management, competence, organizational dexterity, officiating skills, fans maturity in shunning violence and hooliganism and infrastructural development. Let us put away those things that will displease God and reach out for magnanimity in victory, glorying in defeat and statesman-like acceptance of results. The prevalence of voodoo/juju will help a few, but will destroy many, why not put away and accept the power inherent in God’s word in Deut. 18:10-11 “These should not be found among you, anyone who employs divination, nycromancy, a practitioner of magic or anyone who looks for omens or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead.” We pray that God Almighty should take absolute non-negotiable control of our various teams in all championships.
May the better side win.

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