I shall not waste your time waiting to know if witchcraft in football is real or a myth. If you are in a hurry, the outright answer is, witchcraft in football is very real and has been for decades. If you are reading this from the USA and UK you most likely will be in disbelief. In Africa and France, Witchcraft in soccer has been around for ages! But first;
What is Witchcraft in Football?
“Witchcraft” in football typically refers to superstitious or irrational beliefs and practices associated with the sport. While football is a highly rational and scientific sport, it has its fair share of superstitions and traditions that some players, coaches, and fans believe can influence the outcome of a game. Logically and scientifically speaking, these practices are done for psychological or motivational reasons. Based on results, there have been some near convincing incidents that witchcraft might actually influence the final result of game! We will look at some of those but first, here are Some common examples of how witchcraft manifests itself in football:
Many players have lucky charms or rituals they perform before or during a game, such as wearing a specific pair of socks, using a particular piece of equipment, or touching an object for good luck.
Remember Arsenal center back Abib Kolo Toure? The Ivory Coast defender loved to be the last onto the pitch. This rather bizarre practice once made him miss the start of the second half of Arsenal’s Champions League tie with AS Roma in 2009. In this game, Kolo also got booked for entering the field of play without the referee’s permission.
Mr Tourés playmate William Gallas had needed treatment at half time and stayed longer in the dressing room. Kolo, because personal superstition, needed to be the last Arsenal player to enter the pitch! He got that bit, but he only showed up back after the game had restarted! Arsenal won this game thanks to Robin van Persie’s 37′ Penalty.
Some players have specific pre-game rituals they follow, from the way they tie their shoes to how they enter the field. These rituals are believed to help them perform at their best.
Let’s head to Manchester United and of course France. Get your memory for the 1998 soccer World Cup ready. All through that world cup, Man United and French defender Laurent Blanc would kiss the shaven head of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez before the kick off of each game. Needless to say, France lifted the trophy.
Manchester United fans stay with me for the next example. Remember Paul Gascoigne “Gazza”? Yes your man has the award for the most bizarre pre-game ritual. The former English international reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup.
Behold Gazza made a bizarre claim that he used to touch Les Ferdinand’s Penis before every international game. Les Ferdinand swears its not true but ok lets assume its true for a minute. Gazza claims, “He made mine look small, I went ‘Les, Les please, please let me have one f***ing hold of that thing’. and he adds “So he let me have a hold of it. And I went out played a blinder and scored, right. I thought ‘f***ing brilliant’.”
Gazza claims after that goal Les allowed him touch his penis before the start of every game!
Coaches, Players and fans may hold certain things true or bad luck. For example, the stats prove Mourinho used not to lose against Arsene Wenger. Football believed there was something that stopped Mr Mourinho from losing a game to Wenger who had secured wins from almost every team!
Until 2022-2023 season there was a known jinx. It was said that Pep while had jettisoned Yaya Toure out of the first team. In return Yaya had placed a jinx on Pep not to win the Champions league. When they were reunited at Man city, Yaya was still relegated to the bench so word was that until Pep apologized to yaya he would never win the champions league. But he won it so may be Yaya wasn’t doing Juju after all?
Touching or Kissing Objects:
Players may touch or kiss specific objects before a game, such as a lucky charm, the stadium entrance sign, or the goalposts, for good luck. Remember Former Liverpool and Barca striker Luis Suarez? Suarez used to kiss his wrist over the tattoo of his oldest daughter Delfina’s name. Luis believed these were the centers of his success that gave him the goals he pulled in week in and out!
Players accused of witchcraft.
Let’s look at the players who are accused of practicing witchcraft.
We set off with Pierre-Emerick Emiliano François Aubameyang‘s father. Pierre Aubame was playmate to France and Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf. Frank Leboeuf in an interview confessed that he saw witchcraft with his own eyes.
Talking to ESPN Sport Frank Leboeuf said “My teammate was Pierre Aubame [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s father] and he could not walk. He was convinced that there was a curse on him. He went to see many doctors and was not getting better. I saw him consult a marabout (witchdoctor) who touched his leg and did all sorts of black magic and Aubame was healed, just like that. It was incredible.”
I hope we have set the bar as high as it needs to be with solid confessions from first hand witnesses.
The only person you cannot tell a secret and you expect him to keep it is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The football giant in 2021 accused Belgian international Lukaku of practicing witchcraft. The accusations were made after a heated face-off during the match between Inter Milan and AC Milan. Zlatan in the exchange told Lukaku “Call all your mom, do your voodoo thing.”
The story is that Romelu of Congolese origin allegedly refused to extend his contract at Everton he got a voodoo message prohibiting him to. Everton where doing everything to keep their man and things seemed to be going according to plan when all of a sudden Lukaku cut the deal off. It’s alleged on the call from her mum he was told a voodoo ritual had revealed he shouldn’t stay at Everton and go to Chelsea instead.
Ibrahimovic can be hard to trust not so? But you might as well just take his word on this one. The Swedish striker’s accusations were coloreted by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri. In an interview, Farhad said;
“I can assure you we tried everything to keep Rom. If I tell you what we offered him you wouldn’t believe it. We offered him a better deal than Chelsea and his agent came to Finch Farm to sign the contract. Robert [Elstone, Everton’s chief executive] was there, everything was in place, there were a few reporters outside, then in the meeting Rom called his mother. He said she was on a pilgrimage in Africa or somewhere and he had a voodoo and he got the message that he needs to go to Chelsea.
Paul has been accused by his own brother! Mathias claims Pogba is in “love” with a Juju man called Ibrahim and they have practiced witchcraft to stop Pogba from getting injuries.
Ibrahim is a near celebrity in Roissy-en-Brie, a small black community in the east suburbs of Paris. This witch doctor, or “Grande,” as he is known is very famous and high profile.
Ibrahim, a self-proclaimed witch doctor, or a marabout, as they are called in France has been in the news several times. He claims to be able to cast a curse, lift a curse, bring you luck and success, or make life miserable.
According to Paul Pogba’s Brother Mathias, Pogba did not only contract this witch to stop him from getting injuries but also cast a curse on fellow French Play mate Kylian Mbappe! Pogba doesn’t deny seeing this witch but denies it was for the reasons his brother claims. Pogba claims he consulted the voodoo man to help with his charity works in Africa.
Pogba vehemently refutes claims he placed a curse on Mbappe. He told investigators that blackmailers, including his brother Mathias, were looking to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Mbappe.
Teams accused of Witchcraft.
There have been a few counties we know that openly showed they believed in witchcraft.
PSG Champions League With Steaua Bucuresti
In 1997, PSG had just lost the first leg of the Champions League qualifying round to Steaua Bucuresti. With Steaua Bucuresti in a comfirtable (3-0) lead on aggregates, it looked done and dusted! PSG needed a miracle to overturn that result. Welcome witchcraft in football that worked! Michel Denisot, who was PSG president at the time, decided to go look for a miracle. The president sought the services of Sidi, a famous witch doctor, for help.
Denisot made several desperate consultations with the Juju man saying he couldn’t see the result in PSG’s Favor yet. After a few €200 consultations, the Juju man cam through with some good news for the PSG president. With only two days left to the return leg, the medicine man told Denisot, “You will win 5-0, it is certain. I can see the whole game now. The fourth goal will be scored by the No. 18 in the 41st minute.”
Ladies and gentlemen, the miracle came to pass! PSG went on to win 5-0 at the Parc des Princes. And yes player number 18, Florian Maurice, scored the fourth goal in the 40th minute.
LB Chateauroux 2004
Denisot did leave PSG but he did not let go of his Juju man! Its said that in 2003 while at LB Chateauroux, Denisot reached out to Sidi. LB Chateauroux was a third-division team playing in the Coupe de France. Needless to say is the club mounted a famous run to the 2003-04 Coupe de France final. There were some miracles needed along the way including beating Ligue 1 giants AS Monaco. They finally lost the final but you can guess to who? It was a 1-0 loss against PSG. And yes its not an allegation. Denisot wrote about it in “Breves de vies,” his 2014 and confirmed all the accounts of witchcraft!
In November 2022, with the clock ticking on Sadio Mane over an injury he had and with the world cup just days Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura the Secretary General at FIFA said they were employing the services of witch doctors to get their man ready for Qatar!
But that is less telling. According to former France midfielder Emmanuel Petit Senegal has their witchcraft intact. Petit once told RMC Sport, “One year before the 2002 World Cup, I was at a beach in France and met a Senegalese [street vendor.] He walked up to me and said ‘Look, the World Cup that will be played in 12 months, France will meet Senegal and Senegal will win by 1-0, because our witch doctors are very strong in Senegal. You will see.’
Needless to say is France met Senegal and the street vendor’s words came true. Petit and company lost to a lone goal from Papa Bouba Diop.