A senior medical officer and clinical psychologist Dr. Isaac Newman Arthur says spiritism and spirituality are embedded in the core of the human experience including sports.
Dr. Arthur was responding to recent claims by a former captain of the national U-17 team, the Black Starlets, Emmanuel Bentil on LifeStyle TV’s Heart and Soul programme about how his colts team was led to consult maame water spirit at the Korle Gonnor beach to aid the team’s quest for victory.
Asked to comment about the claims by Bentil which drew criticism from football fans, Dr. Newman Arthur said there is no denying the fact spiritism is part of human existence.
“Spiritism and spirituality are embedded in the core of the human experience. We cannot deny there is something called spirituality,” Dr. Arthur said.
He added that this was not the first time he was hearing specifically about footballers consulting maame water spirit at the seashore to gain favour for their football matches.
“This is not the first time I am hearing something like that. You know a footballer, and I don’t want to mention the club, one of them actually spoke to me about the fact that those things actually happen. And that they even have to walk naked through a certain roundabout at midnight (before a football match). Even for some footballers who we see sometimes on TV, they have some strange beads or talisman around their waists.”
Dr. Arthur, also the Acting Director of the University of Professional Studies Accra’s Medical Directorate, stressed that the spiritual experience is not only peculiar to football but also even in the medical field.
“Even in health, research has shown that those who are spiritual, not the typical spirituality that people know or religious, improves outcomes. They don’t die early. They recover better and have a better perspective on life psychologically. So spirituality is so critical and so important in our human experience.
Just that we don’t need to situate it in a way that is not too extreme or cannot benefit us.
Because for example, if you go to all those places but yet you still lose, why still do it?
Bentil told show host Erasmus Kwaw that he believed that some players of the Black Starlets 1995 team had had their careers cut short by persistent knee injuries in latter years after they failed to show appreciation to a spiritualist who had predicted the team’s success at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1995.
“It may never have been because of that. If they had not gone there, then they will not attribute it to that place. So long as there has been some kind of connection to that place, then they can make allusions to that. I am sure a lot of footballers may not have confidence in their skill when they are going to the park because of all that” Dr. Arthur said.
However, Dr. Arthur expressed his displeasure at the statement by Bentil that the spiritualist had placed a curse on the players after they failed to show “gratitude” to him.
“I have a lot of problems with this. I don’t think a true man of God would curse someone if the person doesn’t come to show gratitude. Even the bible says love your enemies and don’t curse them like your Father in heaven. So I really don’t believe in those things. A growing Christian who really knows who God is would not even think like that. We must be agents of blessing. If you know anybody who says they are a prophet/pastor something and they curse anyone, then they are not who they say they are,” he stressed.
Hosted by two-time Ghana’s Press Attaché at the Olympics, Erasmus Kwaw, Heart and Soul has heard alarming accounts from a former Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Nii Lantey Vanderpuye who revealed how he was made to sleep at the cemetery and bathed in water used on dead bodies and others from former Black Stars players Rev. Awuley Quaye Jnr., Rev. Osei Kofi, and Godfried Aduobe equally confessed to using juju to aid their careers before eventually committing their lives to Jesus Christ.
The show airs on Saturdays at 11:00 am and replays on Fridays at 3:30 pm.