LifeStyle TV’s Heart and Soul investigative sports-faith programme continues to gather accounts about the use of juju by sportsmen and women in the country, particularly ex-football players, to aid their success.
Hosted by Ghana’s two-time Press Attaché at the Olympic Games, the show has over the past year heard fascinating accounts about the role of the supernatural in sports from ex footballers such as Black Starlet 1995 captain Emmanuel Bentil, Ex Black Stars players Rev. Awuley Quaye Jnr and Godfried Aduobe.
In some other episodes, Author and former Presbyterian Minister Rev. Francis Botchway has helped analyse recent statements from ex-Black Star midfielder Derek Boateng and others who revealed how Ghana’s team nearly boycotted the semi-final game against Zambia at the 2012 African Cup of Nations due to suspicions Andre Ayew was using juju.
The action by the players appears to have back fired as Ghana lost the game, having warmed up for only 10 minutes and despite earning an early penalty kick.
While Boateng’s revelations have sparked mixed reactions among football fans, some have also argued that the genesis of the problem can be traced to colts football.
Thus, Heart and Soul has been analysing further accounts about the colts football league where the practice of juju, witchcraft and black magic is known to be endemic.
Relating his experiences in colts football, a former Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye revealed in recent interview on GTV Sports +’s Saving our Passion programme, which airs on LifeStyle TV, how he slept in a cemetery and bathed water used on dead bodies during his colts football days.
The Member of Parliament for the Odododiodio constituency said that like many footballers of his time he was also a victim of strange superstitious rituals perpetuated on young footballers by club owners.
“I have had experiences before,” he told show host Karl Tufuoh alongside the other studio guests Kwabena Yeboah and Dr. Kwaku Ofosu Asare.
“I have slept in a cemetery before. I have bathed water that has been used on dead bodies before. I have eaten certain things, swallowed certain things before.”
He continued in the interview which aired on Heart and Soul that “The worse part of it is that one day we were given stones to put in our boots. By 15 minutes into the game, we got blisters and sore so we could not even wear the boots anymore. Your toes are swollen so the ball comes to you and you can’t even kick it. And they say that, it is going to win you the match.”
He posited that the practice of black magic is very widespread in Ghana’s football both past and present.
“The thing is so endemic. I have had a situation where a player who was sent out to France, a wonderful player, but because he was not allowed to do those things, his football career ended. Because he had believed so much in those things that he thinks without them there is no way he can play.
Curiously, Nii Lantey explained that the player in question possessed extraordinary skills, “Meanwhile, he was a gifted player. He had the talent.”
Although not related to the recent discussions about Derek Boateng’s revelations about how some Black Stars forced Andre Ayew onto the field of play before the semi-final game in AFCON 2012, Nii Lantey revealed something similar had happened in the case of a Ghanaian footballer in Europe.
“There was a situation a player has been sacked from Italy because he was dabbling in those things. And anytime they go to the dressing room, he will be the last one to come out because when all of them are going out, he had to put certain things on his body before he gets out. But there were cameras there and they caught him.
“So now they tried to find out from him what these things were. There was another case in Belgium when a talisman fell from a player (goalkeeper) so he was trying to pick it up and a goal was scored.”
Contributing to the discussion, ace broadcaster Kwabena Yeboah condemned the practice of juju and black magic, saying “it is senseless and stupid for anybody to think juju plays football.”
He expressed worry about football club’s expenditure on juju.
“You know why I am worried about so called juju? The fact that the clubs spend so much money on ways and means.”
Nii Lantey chipped in, “even at the national team level.”
Dr. Kwaku Ofosu Asare added, “while the child is growing and being coached by coaches at whatever stage, this thing is indoctrinated.” Dr. Asare made his own revelations about how his colts football team consulted some spiritualist before a game. He said certain candles were lit but unfortunately he kicked one of the candles as his legs were wobbling at the time. After sustaining an injury in the game, he was told it was because he had earlier kicked the candle.
He added, it is stated in black and white even in the bible that God helps those who help themselves. We are behaving like these boys are people from a different society. This thing is a microcosm (of what is happening currently in our society).
Heart and Soul airs every Saturday at 11:00 am on LifeStyle TV.