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From Cooking a Tongue, Bizarre Cemetery Visits to One Player Killing His Mother – Five African Footballers Who Used Magic

Ducor Sports compiles a list of African players who either believe in its existence or have utilized magic in their football career.

It’s a topic majority of footballers won’t fancy opening up about but there’re few who’ve bothered discussing it mainly out of necessity to discourage its use in the game.

Form, breaking injury circles and stardom –from the testimonies of players –is guaranteed with the use of black magic or superstition; but all also agreed its use leaves a nasty aftermath, often with a tattered reputation beyond repair.

Prepared either in solid, liquid or in powder form -but never in gas – by medicine men believed to possess communicatory powers with the underworld or dark forces, the use of charms in Africa is not uncommon.

Some stars, from our part of the globe, have gone on to use it to aid in their career progress. Ducor Sports compiles a list of African players who either believe in its existence or have utilized it.

TARIBO WEST: Capped forty-two times for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Port Harcourt-born was, in his days, one of the finest defenders from Africa.

In a professional career spanning 16 years which began in Auxerre leading to later spells in both Milan clubs, West is one of few players to admit to making use of juju to aid his career growth.

Narrating undergoing bizarre rituals of cutting a tongue, hand and cooking it, Taribo said he’d paid several native doctors in Senegal to help him thrive in the European game and took charms for the Nigerian national team as well.

“Of course, yes (I was involved in voodoo). I don’t know why people decline to talk about their involvement with charms. Football has to do with a lot of powers. When there are big events, you look at the stadium, you see people, fans invoking all kinds of things; magicians are there, voodooists are there.”

“In my playing days, when I was ignorant, I used to get some Mallams and Babalawos (traditional doctors) to make charms for us, which we took to (national) camp. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t,” West, who won the UEFA Cup, reveals.

Starting out in Obanta United, then Sharks, Enugu Rangers and Jullus Berger, Taribo, now 44 and a pastor, revealed in a previous interview with a Nigerian tabloid how club owners and managers even provided charms for players to tuck in under their shin-pads, socks or contacted voodoo men to predict scores before they played.

“These people see strange things and they can tell you with their magic and charms, what the outcome of a match will be. People believe and use it. It works for those who believe in it. I saw it, I experienced it, I was with players that used it and I used it. So, why are people denying it? There are charms and rituals in football. It still exists.”

ANDRE DEDE AYEW: Currently in the books of Turkish Superlig side Fenerbache on loan from Swansea City, Andre Dede Ayew is a Muslim and has Islamic upbringing, a religion that condemns black magic or charms. However, the 29-year-old seems to have faith in the works of medicine men. The left-footed Black Stars’ captain was linked to the dark art after being filmed sprinkling what looked like white powder in the pitch. It occurred during pre-match warm-up in Ghana’s contest against DR Congo. Ayew walked to the sidelines mumbling words under his breath before sprinkling the powder three times in a match he and his sibling Jordan scored each. The ex-Hammers and Marseille playmaker’s actions run contrary to his father legend Pele’s views regarding superstition.

“I think we must acknowledge that juju is part of the African tradition, and we shouldn’t forget our tradition. I don’t think any such thing like juju works in football, because it has been proved worldwide that we Africans have more juju than any other people, but we cannot win the World Cup,” Ayew Snr is quoted.

SAM JOHNSON: An erstwhile Ghana international with stints in Anderlecht and in the Turkish league, the forty-five times capped midfielder is frank about Juju, admitting he used it.

“There is Juju in football and any footballer who says otherwise is a liar. I’ve practiced it before,” he told Happy Fm’s Anopa Bosuo Sports,

“I used it to play football for a longer period but it got to a time I decided to stop because it wasn’t helping like the way I anticipated but I think it did a lot for me also.

“I’m now a born again Christian and won’t advise anybody to venture into that because football at the moment has changed a lot from our time, it has evolved.”

JEAN-JACQUES TIZES AND ADEBAYOR: A go-to-man for Ivory Coast between the sticks before the rise of Copa Barry, Tizes is reported to have visited, in Didier Drogba’s book, a cemetery to chase away bad spirits while in the Elephants’ camp ahead of an international game.

Emmanuel Adebayor is another player who makes our list following his very public spat with his family over witchcraft. The 34-year-old Togolese legend reportedly drove his mother out of his home, accusing her of being a witch and plotting his demise. His Germany-based brother and family denied the claims saying the striker was ‘brainwashed’ by spiritual-healers.

“They should stop talking, talking, they should stop doing juju on me — they should leave me alone. They (his family) have already shared all the things I worked for. They shared my houses, they shared my cars. They say, “If he dies this car is for you, this house is for you”. Can you imagine?” the player wrote on his social media page.

SHIVA N’ZIGOU: Mid this year, Gabon’s Shiva N’Zigou sparked outrage with his shocking claims of sleeping with his aunt, blood sister and killing his mother as a sacrifice, all aimed at helping his career development -perhaps the most horrendous of confessions in relation to voodoo and football.

“I had [sexual] relations with my aunt, these relations happened again with my sister. I slept with my sister,” he confessed in viral footage.

“I slept with a man. And I had another long-term relationship also with a man,” he told a Church in Lome in a bid to turn a new leaf.


In the wake of Adebayor’s family feud, Nigerian striker Brown Ideye’s opinion was sought and his standpoint was more than epic.

“I know players who get involved with the Juju men and they can’t get out. It’s a trap. They might get short-term benefits, but in the long run they pay for it. Juju men have a lot of influence. These are men who are just trying to make themselves rich and tell you they can make your life perfect.”

“If things like that worked then instead of Messi and Ronaldo winning world player of the year it should be some African players.”

“I would advise players not to follow this route but it’s their choice, I can’t stop them,” the 30-year-old Malaga centre-forward chipped in at the time.

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