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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 15:05 UK

Magic charms wreck Swazi stadium

Swaziland new King Mswati III (L) during his coronation at Somhlolo National Stadium in Mbabane on 25 April 1986
The Swazi king (L) had his coronation at the 50,000-capacity stadium in 1986

Players have wrecked artificial turf at Swaziland's main football stadium by putting magic charms, or "muti" underneath it, say furious officials.

The damage was worst near the goals and centre circle at the Somhlolo National Stadium in the capital Mbabane.

The muti, which some believe will help teams win games, has been stuffed under the turf over the last month.

Officials say they may ban any teams responsible for damage to the $600,000 (£375,000) turf.

'Something strange'

"Maybe we have to consider banning one big team because whenever that team would be playing at the stadium, something strange would happen," government sports officer Sipho Magagula told AFP news agency.

The country's sports minister has reportedly filed a formal criminal complaint over the damage, which has been noticed before and after national league games.

The BBC's Thulani Mtetwa in Mbabane says holes have been cut and burned in the turf, so the muti can be placed underneath.

He says many rituals involve burning something.

The police say it is difficult to take action as such rituals are often carried out at night.



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