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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April 2005, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Does 'juju' have a place in football?
As an African, we have our customs and traditions
Kashimawo Laloko, technical director of the Nigeria Football Association

Got an opinion? Express it here!

Each week we throw up a different subject to let followers of African sport have their say.

On our Interactive edition of Fast Track on Friday 1 April, Kashimawo Laloko, the technical director of the Nigeria Football Association, told our listeners he believes 'juju' (witchcraft) can change the course of a football match.

"I believe that it does exist. As an African, we have our customs and traditions," Laloko told the BBC World Service programme on Friday.

Laloko was sent off before the start of the 2000 African Cup of Nations quarter-final between Nigeria and Senegal, for removing what he believed to be a talisman that was near Senegal's goal.

"I had to pick whatever I found there and I left," he said.

Although Laloko was sent off after being reported to Botswana's Ashford Mamelodi, who was the match commissioner, he has no regrets for his controversial action five years on.

"Before the match [the Senegalese] came onto the pitch and started performing some rituals.

"An executive member of Caf then asked me if I was going to allow what was happening.

"If I had not done what I did and we had lost, journalists would have written all sorts of nonsense," Laloko said.

Do you think that 'juju' has a place in African football?

Or does Laloko's thinking and beliefs have no place in the modern African game?

Use the form on the right to tell us what you think.

If Laloko, as the technical director of football in a country like Nigeria, still believes that juju works in football, what future does Nigerian football have? I think Nigeria should look for someone else to take our football forward.
Charles Ebuzome, Ireland

If you believe in juju, it works for you and if you have faith in planning and hard work, it works for you as well
Alpha Sesay, Sierra Leone

I think that Mr. Laloko should reflect on his beliefs. If "juju" has a place in the modern African game, why have Benin Republic and other West African teams that practise it been performing poorly? He should believe in his ability, otherwise he stands to compromise his position as the NFA's technical director!
C.N Anyanwu, Nigeria

I am aware that juju is a house-hold name in Africa. However, it is of no use on the field of play and it is totally unacceptable to me and many others. I played football and personally experienced the so-called juju being used for some of our matches, although I was not a party to the idea. The only truth about juju is that it may help one build confidence. But it can also lead to disaster, for those that have faith in something that has no direct input in winning matches.
Bona Udeze Chicago, USA

Laloko should face more serious issues, like how to move Nigerian football forward. He was apparently trying to justify his bizarre behaviour in that match against Senegal. Juju has no place in today's football.
Chimezie Ezima, Nigeria

Quite frankly, juju exists and is common in Africa. It certainly works for people who believe in it. But one thing is certain, juju will never win a game of football for those who believe in it. To have a favourable outcome of a game, you need to train very well and require mental, physical and psychological fitness.
Charles Oluseyi, Nigeria

If people like Laloko are still thinking 'juju' still applies to football they have to wake up to reality
Dovi Amouzou, Nigeria

As an African, I believe that juju exists but as a football follower I believe dedication, hard work, preparation and talent are more powerful than juju. If you talk about luck, every team needs it but juju winning a football match? I don't think so.
Wunmi Thomas, UK

I think it's all a matter of faith in what you believe. If you believe in juju, it works for you and if you have faith in planning and hard work, it works for you as well. At the end of the day, when two powers meet, the lesser one bows. So if your hard work is more than my juju, then you win and vice versa.
Alpha Sesay, Sierra Leone

I am of the opinion that eleven determined and positively focused players could make the difference for a team in a football game if the officiating is good. 'Juju' can never be a factor in sports otherwise certain African countries like Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, South Africa and the Northern African teams could have won the elusive Fifa World Cup. The likes of Laloko should be exposed to the technicalities of the game.
Dr. Enobakhare O. Iyagbaye, Canada

Laloko should face more serious issues, like how to move Nigerian football forward
Chimezie Ezima, Nigeria

Juju does work for those who believe. Individual football players who believe in juju have had rituals performed for them before and after games and the results are seen through the goals they score and the performance they put up. There are many renowned players, who for the sake of privacy, will not admit to this fact - from the talismans around their waists, to the special baths before games. Open your eyes people.
Ecinue Rehctik, USA

While juju itself has little physical influence over the outcome of a game, the psychological effects upon believers may influence their play.
Matthew Brutlag, U.S.A.

If 'juju' were such a major influence in football, as Laloko claimed, how come he never used it to become successful as a player, coach or whatever fanciful title he now wears for our totally disorganised national association?
Dan Okereke, Nigeria

Juju is just a psyche on teams that believe in it. Some people still believe in its potency though, but more rational sportsmen/women now know that hardwork, planning and technical input is superior to 'juju'.
Joshua Olanrewaju, Nigerian in the British Virgin Islands

In the 60's, 70's and 80's, when football was more traditional than modern in Africa, 'juju' (witchcraft) used to play a major role but the game has changed since then. If not, some African countries (I wouldn't mention names) would be winning the Nations Cup at will. These days, only the best prepared teams win. If Senegal's team, as some claim, use 'juju', why did they lose to Togo in Lomé?

If people like Laloko are still thinking 'juju' still applies to football, they have to wake up to reality. A powerful 'juju' team in Africa cannot stand before a very strong, youthful and well-prepared one.
Dovi Amouzou, Nigeria

The answer is a capital NO!! Juju has nothing to do with football. it's a psychological ploy that works on the mentality of the opponent. The truth is a good team needs no such thing to win.
Ofoni Larry, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

I strongly feel that those that believe in Juju are ignorant. Only a team that prepares and plays hard will win a game.
Seltue Karweaye, Liberian residing in the USA

I feel that juju has a place in African football. A point is when Liberia lost to Senegal in Liberia. One member of Senegal's technical staff dropped something on the pitch and one of our Liberia FA Members saw it but could not identify the exact place it was kept and we were defeated. We outplayed them and even missed a lot of goals. There are great men who are specialised in these sciences and need not be doubted. Juju is real.
Yanqueh S. Borsay, Liberia

I do not share the belief that juju exists in football. If it had been the case, Brazil would not have won so many World Cups. There are a lot of countries where people believe in juju but they do not qualify for the World cup, not to talk of winning it.
Uchenna Uwaeme, Nigeria

I think 'juju' does not have a place in football. I disagree totally with Laloko, who thought Nigeria beat Senegal because of the 'juju' he removed from their goal post.
Tayo, Nigerian living in the United States

I think juju/witchcraft influences exist. Whether these apply to football I'm not sure, but generally I have found that its influence could be pervasive because people believe in its existence.
Lee Lij, Nigeria/England

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