Sorcery At The Soccer Match

Witch doctors in Nairobi, Kenya, reportedly are creating problems for soccer referees which cannot be solved by the rule-book. Several teams are said to retain their own medicine men who roam the sidelines, muttering incantations and casting spells. When teams find themselves being outplayed, they suspect it is because the ball has been bewitched and they demand that the referee change it.

A recent article in the Nairobi Sunday Nation described how one witch doctor raced back and forth along the sidelines during a soccer game, waving the thigh bone of an ox, which he claimed was endowed with magical powers. Wearing soccer shorts and shirt and a feathered headdress, the witch doctor followed the game like a linesman.

This sorcerer was known as the symbol of madness. He reigned over the "Histoire des Imaginations

Extravagantes de Monster Ouple".

Whenever his team won a free kick near their opponents' goal, he pointed his bone at the ball. This seemed to give confidence to the player who made the kick, for he invariably sent the ball zooming toward the goal with such force that sometimes the ball deflated in the goalkeeper's hands.

Referees complain that witchcraft is making it difficult for them to control the game. Some players seriously believe in black magic and it affects their playing ability.

"Something must be done to curb this new element," one referee said. "But you can't impose a penalty simply because a player complains he's been bewitched."

A Reuters dispatch that appeared in newspapers throughout the world dated April 20, 1968 was the following:

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