‘Juju’, in more than one of its many forms, often comes to the fore when Ghana’s two biggest clubs meet
By: KickerGH Staff
Asante Kotoko welcome Hearts of Oak over the weekend in the two giants’ second league meeting of the year. In the former’s quest to repeat the dose dished out to their fiercest rivals in May, and with the latter vowing to avenge that crushing 1-0 loss, more factors than meets the eye would likely be involved.
One of such is the practice of ‘black magic’ — a resort neither wants to openly acknowledge but whose widespread adoption on both sides of the divide is ‘common’ knowledge. As the duo cross swords in Sunday’s top-of-the-table affair, it’s almost guaranteed that the power of ‘juju’, in manners quite covert and not-so-subtle, would be harnessed for psychological superstitious effect.
And it could be present in any of these five ways — or more!
It’s gradually becoming a thing of the past, though still lingering in the memory. The sight of a Kotoko/Hearts official sprinkling some liquid/powder on the pitch just prior to kick-off or even at half-time?
Well, it’s a trick probably as old as the first ‘Super Clash’ in history but never quite seems to lose its appeal, though not certain to have worked everytime it’s been tried.
ROUTES AND ROOMS
This one isn’t too rare either: you know, when the oracle warns the away team against taking certain routes to the the dressing-room — or avoiding the dressing-room altogether for fear of getting spell-bound by the mischievous hosts!
It’s why, ahead of a clash with Hearts exactly 14 years to this day, Kotoko opted to use the Accra Sports Stadium’s tartan tracks instead. Just how, despite so thoroughly following that precaution, the Porcupine Warriors still ended up beaten 3-0 is a mystery that would probably never be fully unravelled.
It’s one of the rare forms, but certainly not unheard of. When Kotoko beat Hearts 2-0 in Accra a few seasons ago in the league, the visitors/victors trooped onto the pitch in batches, arranged themselves in a cruciform shape in the centre-circle, and got into supposedly prayerful mood. Needless to say, Hearts’ players arriving under the shelter of a giant banner bearing the club’s badge was an apparently less potent tactic, given the result.
COLOURS AND KITS
This one is so popular it isn’t limited to just Kotoko-Hearts encounters. Many a game has been held up over last-minute, unauthorised decisions by one or both clubs to change the jersey combinations agreed pre-match — and you can bet your last pesewa that these arbitrary switches have very little to do with aesthetics.
And then there’s this eerie obsession with the dead, something that’s only become publicized in recent years. Remember the old story of a cat being buried (dead or alive?) — at the Robert Mensah Stadium, methinks — by one faction before the pair met sometime ago?
Well, if those details are too distant to be recollected with any accuracy, there’s the more recent story shared by Phobian devotee and former management member Aziz Haruna Futa regarding how Hearts were required by a spiritualist to exhume a dead body and ‘feed’ it with some stuff to ensure victory — which the club did achieve, anyway — in the 2004 Caf Confederation Cup final against the arch-enemy.