HARARE – The recent “pitch invasion” by a black cat during a recent football match at Rufaro Stadium has reignited debate over the use of purported supernatural powers to win football matches in Africa.
It is really sad to realise that the belief in the use of the supernatural to win football matches is still so entrenched into our football DNA in this day and age and yet European nations have proven beyond doubt that through preparation is the key to football success.
For example, the rise of the Spanish national football team into becoming the best in the world is directly linked to the attention given to youth development at Barcelona which contributes the bulk of players to the national teams.
Money in the Western world is spent in research on how to develop players, coaches and the sport of football in general and yet in Africa teams spend already scarce funds on witch doctors and prophets.
This is tantamount to trying to buy success as not much attention will be spent on preparation for matches by the coaches who will be banking on the supernatural to come through for them.
Local teams were in the past known for seeking assistance from witch doctors but recently, some have been known to consult faith healers and prophets.
In the traditional medicine spectrum, a team may lose because their medicine man had weaker powers but it becomes confusing when both teams seek divine intervention.
The Bible says God loves us all, so the question is who would the Almighty chose between two coaches who both pray to him for victory.
So at the end of the day, it makes sense for a coach to concentrate on properly drilling his team in order to achieve results on the field.
It makes sense for a club to invest in highly qualified junior coaches to develop world-class players in their academy.
It is possible for a Zimbabwean club to develop players that will be the complete product and who are able to deliver on the biggest stage.
The Aces Youth Academy is such an example and so is Methembe Ndlovu’s Bantu Rovers project.
Funds should be channelled towards such initiatives if African football is to develop and not wasted on medicine men.
And if Juju was so effective like some football people would like us to believe, how come no African team has ever won the World Cup?