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banner Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 18:44 GMT
Nkono in 'black magic' claim
Nkono is led away by police
Cameroon goalkeeping coach Thomas Nkono was arrested by riot police for allegedly using "black magic" prior to the African Cup of Nations semi-final with Mali

He was dragged onto the running track after stepping onto the pitch at the March 26 Stadium with Cameroon coach Winfried Schafer.

Schafer implored journalists and photographers to record the incident, which happened 90 minutes before kick-off, as his assistant was handcuffed and led away down the players' tunnel.

I hope it was an individual error on the part of the policemen involved
Cameroon minister for sport
Bidoung Mpkatt

A member of the police then ran back onto the pitch and appeared to retrieve an object from the ground where Schafer and his assistant had been standing.

There was speculation that the the object was a black-magic charm aimed at helping Cameroon's cause.

Confederation for African Football officials intervened and told the police that if he was not released the match would not go ahead.

Cameroon's minister for sport, Bidoung Mpkatt, who is travelling with the team, sought to play down the incident.

"I hope it was an individual error on the part of the policemen involved," he said. "But if it's something more than that we will take appropriate action."

At the last Nations Cup in 2000, controversy erupted in the quarter-final match between Nigeria and Senegal over the supposed use of witchcraft.

With Senegal leading 1-0 with only minutes left, a member of the Nigerian delegation sprinted onto the pitch before snatching an object from the Senegalese goal.

See also:

07 Feb 02 |  Cup of Nations
Senegal into first final
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