"It's Soccer, Not Quidditch"

Witch doctors and red devils populate the game of soccer

When we last left the soccer world, the Anglican bishop of Oxford was denying he exorcized the local stadium (CT, Jan. 7, p. 13). Too bad: other teams need such work. As preparations continue for the World Cup in Korea and Japan, Korean Christians are asking that the national team's fans, known as Red Devils, change their name. "Devils are the enemies of Christians," leader Shin Hyon-Kyun explained to Reuters. Belgium's national team, also known as the Red Devils, also reportedly came under fire. Meanwhile, The East African of Nairobi reports that many African teams have hired witch doctors, or jujumen, to ensure players are not cursed. "Administrators would rather fail to pay players and coaches than shirk the expense of consulting soothsayers," wrote Juma Kwayera. In April, for example, the Ivory Coast government paid jujumen $2,000 for a 1992 victory. The Confederation of African Football has officially banned jujumen, but they've only moved from the field to the stands.

Related Elsewhere

Ted Olsen last covered the world of soccer in January when the Anglican bishop of Oxford was called to exorcise the local stadium because the team kept losing.

Related news stories include:

Red Devils vs White AngelsYonhap News (May 16, 2002)
Belgium to keep Red Devils nickname — Reuters (April 2, 2002)
Korean churches declare war on 'Red Devils' — CNN (April 1, 2002)
Witchcraft: is African Soccer the Realm of Spirits And Deities?The East African (Nairobi) (April 1, 2002)
Check out more sports coverage at our Sports Spectrum site.
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