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Of football and juju

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JUST how on earth does a Premier Soccer League team fail to provide a team sheet before a match?Is it a case of a team manager not knowing his duties or some belief in juju?

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

The majority of the country’s 16 top-flight teams have a belief that supernatural powers can win football matches.

Some of them are well known for consulting faith healers and prophets before matches.

The belief in juju is now so entrenched in them that they even sacrifice basic tenets of professionalism in football like providing team sheets on time and using undesignated entry points.

This is despite that it has been proven beyond doubt that meticulous planning, determination and organisation is the key to get a good result yet this week, nearly all the 16 top-flight clubs were fined by the PSL for various offences as a result of beliefs in juju.

Zimbabwean champions Dynamos topped the table of fines after they were slapped with a $5 125 fine for offences ranging from failure to provide team sheets on time to missile throwing and failure to provide club flags and properly cleaned dressing rooms.

What is sad though is that the champions can, in this day and age, fail to provide basic things like team sheets especially when football is being televised across the world.

There have been claims that one team spends $700 per week on a witchdoctor in Epworth in order to win their matches.

One of the top coaches in the country is understood to be using a faith healer based in Chitungwiza.

Although the Dynamos technical team argue that they face network challenges especially when they travel outside Harare, the fact is that they don’t want to pre-empt their squad based on the belief that their strategy would be known yet the normal practice in international football is for teams to provide their team sheets well before kickoff.

Local teams also cannot provide properly cleaned dressing rooms, deliberately so, based on the same belief that they would lose.

This is because, according to a source, a witchdoctor would have done his magic in the opposition team’s dressing room.

Last year, in the Mbada Diamonds Cup, How Mine had candles burning in their dressing room during the match against Caps United at the National Sports Stadium in the semi-finals and they went on to win.

Previously, Dynamos bouncers and How Mine assistant coach Simba Rusike had fought at Rufaro in the quarter-finals of the same competition with accusations that the Bulawayo side had sprayed some juju on the pitch. Dynamos lost 1-0.

“The problem we have in our football is that we believe in juju and most teams are known for consulting faith healers and prophets. Previously they used to seek assistance from witchdoctors.

Unless we embrace professionalism and start to behave like real professional teams, we are going to continue having these problems,” a source who requested anonymity said.

Some clubs don’t even allow the opposition to train in their home ground, while delays in kick-off have been explained as that no team wants to get into the field of play first.

When one team is “beaten” to taking to the field first, especially during warm-ups, they jump over the fence to gain entry.

Bulawayo giants Highlanders were the second team to incur the heaviest fines, but were fined a total of $4 000 for missile-throwing in two instances.

They were fined $2 000 for pitch invasion and missile-throwing during their match against How Mine on June 6 and another $2 000 for throwing missiles during their match against Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium.

Highlanders’ Willard Khumalo was also fined $125 for his expulsion from the technical area during the match against Chapungu in May.

Caps United attracted a total of $875 for accumulating five yellow cards or more during their match against Hwange ($125) and use of an undesignated entry point for that match ($750).

Shabanie Mine were fined a total of $1 700 for delaying match kick-off against How Mine ($250), use of an undesignated entry point against FC Platinum $750, failure to provide club flags $250, and using a kit with the names of a player or sponsor’s logo not properly secured as per Fifa standards against Buffaloes ($450).

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