Rwandan Soccer Officials Ban Witchcraft After Bizarre Match

‘Witchcraft is a big threat not only to football development but also to the image of the country’

In American sports, there is a long history of players bending the rules to get a competitive advantage. Quarterback Tom Brady has deflated footballs, pitcher Gaylord Perry was notorious for throwing spitballs, and performance-enhancing drugs nearly ruined baseball two decades ago. In the ‘70s, the Oakland Raiders were so fond of breaking the rules there was a sign in their locker room that read: “1. Cheating is encouraged 2. See rule number 1.” But no one in American sports has ever been busted for using witchcraft to gain an advantage of tier opponent.

Last month, the Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) had to amend its rules and ban witchcraft from games after an unusual match between Mukura Victory and Rayon Sports on December 16th. Rayon’s Moussa Camara attempted a shot against Mukura’s goalie and it hit the crossbar. After the shot, Camara ran over to the goalpost and grabbed a small object hidden at its base. This enraged the goalkeeper who chased Camara across the field. After the disruption, both players received yellow cards

After the object was removed, Camara would score on the goalkeeper ending the game in a 1 - 1 tie. After the match, it was revealed that the object the goalkeeper placed at the goalpost was a “juju” charm to protect his team. This prompted FERWAFA officials to enact harsh penalties for any players, teams, and coaches engaging in witchcraft. Players found guilty will receive a three-match suspension and be fined Rwf100,000 ($121 U.S.).

FERWAFA vice president Vedaste Kayiranga released a statement saying: “All present unanimously agreed that the perception of believing in witchcraft is a big threat not only to football development but also to the image of the country...Since there is no scientific way to prove the use of witchcraft, these measures will base upon reports from match officials and anything that is deemed to incite witchcraft will be put under consideration.”

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