HARARE – “WETI inoshanda vakomana, weti inoshanda…!” Jubilant Dynamos fans broke into song and dance soon after Ocean Mushure’s 90th minute goal to secure maximum points for his team against Harare City three weeks ago.
Throughout the match, Harare City goalkeeper Nomore John had thwarted every Dynamos raid with word going around the stadium that there was juju at the Harare City goal area.
That was not before a young boy, sent by a section of Dynamos fans housed at Rufaro’s Mbare-end, poured a urine-like substance at the goal area.
Seconds later, Mushure’s strike, his first in the team’s colours, found the mark and the stadium erupted into frenzy.
Even before the goal was scored, the young boy was already celebrating as if the mission had been accomplished.
Sando kumupfana! (give the boy respect) they screamed with some of them carrying the young boy on their shoulders, as they celebrated after the goal was scored. Seconds later, the match was over.
So strong was the belief that the substance had unlocked the “locked” Harare City goal area. Instead of deliberating on the goal from the top shelf, the young boy became the talking point.
Dynamos national supporters’ chairperson Felix Dzukwa said juju practices were rife in African soccer and clubs were compelled to devise methods of neutralising opponents.
A variety of objects are used in such rituals including urine, salt and pork fat, among others.
“If you do not use juju in African football, you will never be successful. In that game against Harare City, we had to do something because there was juju at Harare City’s goal area,” Dzukwa said.
“We had to send that young boy to pour urine at that goal area because it neutralises the opponent’s juju. Weti, mafuta enguruve nesauti yemagodo zvifumuro. That is why you saw us scoring immediately after that. This also happened when we played FC Platinum in that decisive game last year. The team manager (Richard Chihoro), Cephas Chris and I saw FC Platinum bouncers guarding the centre circle as they had put juju there. We confronted them and poured urine. Dynamos later won the match.”
Dzukwa added: “Even if you have 11 stars, you still need muti. Real Madrid coach José Mourinho also uses muti which he got from Kenya.”
This being Dynamos, it was not surprising as the club has a history etched in superstition. There are allegations that witchdoctors are paid as much as US$700 per match. In 2010, former coach Elvis Chiweshe quit the club in protest against such practices.
However, Dynamos supporters are not alone in the belief that urine works in football, as FC Platinum striker Charles Sibanda was last year convicted after throwing a urine-like substance at Chicken Inn coach Adam Ndlovu.
Last year FC Platinum bouncers were reportedly involving in a scuffle with CAPS United involving urine. Last Wednesday, an unknown liquid that resembled urine again took centre stage as it was poured at Blue Rangers’ goal area before Hardlife Zvirekwi and Shingi Kawondera scored for CAPS United.
But what is it with urine that makes it such a powerful tool in football, much more trusted than the footballers themselves?
Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers’ Association secretary general George Kandiero said there was rampant use of muti in local football with soccer teams consulting the associations’ members.
“Muti use is on the rise in our football. These teams come to us asking about the best people in the business. It is not only football teams that look for performance-enhancing juju, but some look for the one that would enable their kids to pass examinations. We always tell them that muti alone will not help, but it needs extra effort as well,” he said.
Asked about the incident in which urine was poured moments before the winning goal was scored against Dynamos, Harare City coach Bigboy “Mawiwi” was non-committal.
“I am a soccer coach and was never at any time during my training as a coach told to use any form of muti. That is why I do not use it and if I am going to comment about it in the newspapers, what will players think?” quipped Mawiwi whose team has in the recent past been accused of strongly believing in juju.
In Mabvuku, where Mawiwi hails from, they allege he frequents a traditional healer’s residence in the same area.
Highlanders coach Kevin Kaindu is on record as having stated his strong belief in the hand of God.
Perhaps, former Zimbabwe Saints goalkeeper Muzondiwa Mugadza could not have put it better in one blog attributed to his name: “At Zimbabwean Saints, we were regularly given juju as a team or made to perform certain rituals, but at the end of the day we still had to battle relegation.”