What has juju got to do with football ? – Michael Kessey

The issue of juju or ways and means has taken a centre stage in our local football and it is creating a lot of problems in the minds of many football loving fans in Ghana. It’s rather unfortunate some administrators and supporters of our local league clubs find it difficult to accept the inevitable thing in football. As far as football is concern win, draw or lose is unavoidable.

Surprisingly when teams they support in Europe is not faring on well they take it as normal but when it comes to their local clubs failing to perform above their expectation, then they turn around to attribute their team’s abysmal performance to a spiritual problem. It is time we look at it critically and see if indeed juju or ways and means play a major role in football as it is been perceived. I strongly believe the likes of Real Tamale, Gbeewa United, Susubribi, Fankoba, Kpando Heart of Lions, Ho Voradep, Hasaacas, Eleven Wise would not be relegated to the lower division.

Ghanaians who seek for super natural powers will bypass these regions that are Northern, Eastern, Volta and Western respectively. Also India and Benin would have dominated the world football easily without any difficulty all because people who seek for super natural powers normally go to these places to empower themselves. We normally say that everything that has a name exist, but as to whether the name juju which has been branded ways and means works in football is something I find it difficult to understand. How on earth will our local league be attractive if our local Clubs depend on this superstitious belief which to me has no head or tail? I totally disagree with people who have that believe that juju or ways and means work in football.

To the best of my knowledge as an efficient Sports man in the 90’s, I don’t believe juju or ways and means play a vital role in football. It is just an illusion because for a team to be successful it needs to work extra hard to have a character to develop a winning mentality. The late Coach D. F. Annan of blessed memory advised us the only magic in football is teamwork that is we have to work as a unit. We took the initiative to come together as one people with a common destiny in prayer. From 1992-1994 we made a covenant with God if he help us win the Championship we will fast a day in fulfillment to glorify him. We were able to beat all our opponents with ease.

I had never tasted dry fasting until 1992 when we first won the ultimate. Wesley College (Wesco) was able to win the Milo Schools and Colleges soccer championship on three (3) consecutive times without going to see a spiritualist to help us win matches. Nowadays the round leather ball called football has gone beyond superstitions and it is now business and scientific and shouldn’t be treated like a concert party. I do believe everything that has a name exists, but as to whether it makes any positive impact is where I have problem.

It is not a surprise that the Ghanaian Premier league is not making headway. It’s disheartening and sickening some former players and football administrators who should have known better and lead an exemplary life for the up and coming ones to follow have been championing the use of juju or ways and means in our local football.

This cankerworm has eaten deep into our football game and it would be in our own interest to put a stop to it for the growth and development of the Ghanaian football. If indeed, juju plays a major role in football why then do club administrators spend huge sums of money to buy players and also employ expatriate coaches. Moneys spent by some of our local clubs who believe in ways and means sometimes surpass salaries paid to their players.
In the late 70’s players of Glorious Accra Hearts Of Oak failed to score a goal against their Guinean counterparts Hafia in an Africa Cup all because a spiritualist had told them and player who put the ball at the back of their opponents net will die.

Kumasi Asante Kotoko on the other hand in 2004/2005 had all the chance in the world to win the CAF Confederation Cup finals against their arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak. In that match Charles Asampong Taylor was the main terror or tormentor who could have won the match for Kotoko .Unfortunately, Coach Hans D Smith (coach Abenkwan) hearkened to what people around him who believe in juju told him and he substituted him and Kotoko saw the trophy, but their hands never touched it.

In Brazil 2014 if my memory serves me right Kwaku Bronsam came out to say he was behind Christiano Ronaldo’s injury and that he cannot score a goal and surprisingly he could not prevent him from putting the ball in our net. We have seen supporters telling their teams not to wear a particular jersey colour, not using the main entrance. Also their players must not appear on the pitch the normal way but rather use their backs to appear on the pitch all because that is what the spiritualist they consulted had told them to do and in the end they lose the match.
How can we access performance of our players if we always want to attribute our team’s abysmal performance in a match to juju? Our players today are not eager to train very hard on their own all because they believe their team leaders who are crazy for juju or ways and means have gone to radio stations to tell the listening public they had won the match already.

Football is played only on a pitch and not in a pot, mirror or calabash. The Germans have adopted a machine that is not juju but a system of play which suits them and we saw the good results from their new team in the just ended Fifa Confederation Cup competition. Football leaders in Germany after the exit of Klinsman sat down and saw that when their players sweat too much on the field it reduces their performance. They thought it wise to make jerseys which can absorb sweat. They played to a certain pattern and whenever they are on the field of play you will notice there is cohesion and they made sure they translate whatever they had learnt on the training grounds into matches they played. If I may ask our GFA leadership apart from huge sums of money they spent unnecessary on ways and means what have they observed as the main cause of Black Stars failure to win CAN?

Most of our football administrators lack ideas when it comes to putting in place a mechanism that will help the growth and development of their players. How many of our coaches would take their time to correct mistakes committed by their players on the training grounds. Our coaches should try and move away from the usual training or the “Wokyembo” in the Akan language just to select players for upcoming matches. If a player continues to repeat the same mistakes match after match then we don’t need a soothsayer to come and tell us somebody who is supposed to correct his mistakes has failed to do his job well. It is sad to see a premier league club whose players are complaining for months they have not been paid their salaries and yet these same administrators will have moneys to give to a spiritualist for juju or ways and means. European teams have dieticians who are there to determine the type of food players will have to eat based on their blood group, but same cannot be said here.

Worst of it all is that there are no psychologists attached to our local clubs to psyche players when they have a psychological problem. When players have a sound mind, they will definitely have a sound body. We cannot get good results when we run our football like a concert party thinking that juju or ways and means can give us our desired results. We leave our players to go to night clubs and disco to blow time and we expect them to come and deliver the best for us. These players because they know if they fail to play above themselves and lose a match their supporters will apportion the blame on the referee or juju that is why they will go and train very hard and will go burn all the strength they have gotten. Every game has its rules and when it comes to football there is no book in football that talks about juju or ways and means as part of the things that will make a team be successful.


Michael Kessey – (The unexpected – one)

(Sports Analyst GCR)