TFF needs to end witchcraft beliefs in football 

04Dec 2021
Nassir Nchimbi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
TFF needs to end witchcraft beliefs in football 

​​​​​​​IT is alleged that metaphysics is now prominent when it comes to football, alias 'The Beautiful Game', in Africa, but could this be either factual or mere fantasy?

Kinondoni Municipal Council FC's forward, Charles Ilanfya (L), negotiates his way past Polisi Tanzania FC's midfielder, Said Juma, as the two squads locked horns in this season's NBC Premier League match in Arusha on September 27. PHOTO: KMC FC

Witchcraft has been a central theme of African history long before colonization as it resonates across all the continent’s facets of life, according to historians.

Even at this, witchcraft or sorcery remains a nebulous concept to define because its meaning differs from one region to another.

Archaeologically, witchery entails the use of supernatural means to cause harm to the guiltless, but in the modern era, it has evolved to using mystic skills like the casting of spells and re-enactment of magical rites to reverse the status quo.

Astoundingly, this has found its way into the beautiful game as some football teams in Africa now rely on witchery, also known as 'Muti, 'Juju, or 'Otumakpo', to influence the outcome of their matches or better still, complement their efforts.

From national teams down to club sides, football administrators and not forgetting the players, have all been fingered for getting involved in the unholy act in one way or the other.

Now the question is, does witchcraft truly exist in African football or is it just a figment of imagination?

At home, the Tanzanian national football team, Taifa Stars, was afraid to go through the usual routes when entering the stadium for warm-up.

The players' bus came and dropped off the players at the side gate of the stadium where the TV production crew is located and the side where Simba SC fans often sit.

Taifa Stars' players stormed in and made their way back to the changing rooms. This is not the first time the squad's players have acted like this.

In the first match of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Burundi, which took place in Bujumbura, Taifa Stars' players refused to go into the dressing rooms during the break.

All these times the argument has been to evade sabotage. But these mistakes are what Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and the Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB) have turned into a source of revenue against domestic outfits.

Clubs have been complaining that their hosts are playing dirty games as part of the sabotage and, in response, the former are taking action.

The Taifa Stars' action, which took place in TFF leaders' presence, means that even the federation knows there is sabotage taking place.

Now that TFF knows that, why does the federation continues to turn poor clubs into investors?

CAF has issued a warning letter following allegations of sabotage at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.

This happens after many foreign clubs complained about the stadium. Even local clubs, especially from outside Dar es Salaam, have been complaining.

When the TFF and the TPLB are informed of these non-sporting events, they ignore them.

If clubs take action to avoid this sabotage by refusing to enter the changing rooms or bypassing the planned routes, they are severely punished.

Football is a three-point battle, every team has to defend itself by any means to make sure they are safe when they enter the stadium.

The football authorities must act on all complaints in local stadiums so that football can be played and professionalism can hold sway.

People fail to prepare their sides well, relying on shortcuts to achieve success. This is the result, either spray in changing rooms or connive with match officials to show opponents' players controversial red cards.

It is impossible for the same teams to at all times benefit from refereeing mistakes, in the same environment and soccer stakeholders just keep quiet.

Money lately flows into local football and the authorities have to come up with the right decisions to do justice to the money.

Tanzania has a great chance to be a successful nation in soccer in the CECAFA region, but these shortcomings hold it back so much.

The TFF and TPLB need to fix these little obstacles for the present and future benefit of domestic football.

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