FERWAFA calls meeting to discuss 'witchcraft in soccer'

Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) executive committee will today meet with all first division club presidents to discuss the problem of witchcraft (juju) in local football.
Mukura goalie Andre Mpazimpaka was at the centre of witchcraft controversy that marred his team's game against Rayon Sports last week. (S. Ngendahimana)
Mukura goalie Andre Mpazimpaka was at the centre of witchcraft controversy that marred his team's game against Rayon Sports last week. (S. Ngendahimana)

Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) executive committee will today meet with all first division club presidents to discuss the problem of witchcraft (juju) in local football.

The meeting, which will take place at the federation headquarters, will also mull the possibility of enacting a law to curb the increasing cases of witchcraft during league games.

The development follows last Friday’s incident during the league match between Mukura Victory Sports and Rayon Sport at Huye stadium that saw players on both sides clash over alleged use of witchcraft by Mukura VS.

Rwandan football has been awash with reports of witchcraft use right from the top to lower division clubs. Currently, FERWAFA has no standing law to deal with such cases.

Speaking to Times Sport in an exclusive interview, FERWAFA vice president Vedasite Kayiranga revealed that following the Mukura incident, the local football governing body has decided to call for an extraordinary meeting with all first division clubs to discuss the issue of witchcraft in football.

“In FERWAFA statutes we don’t have any law punishing the use of witchcraft because there is nowhere in the world where it has been proven that it can influence the outcome of a game. However, with the violence between players because of allegations that one team is using it, we have decided to enact laws,” said Kayiranga.

Kayiranga, who admits that the use of these supernatural powers is a great threat to football development, added that, “The measures we shall take on Thursday will not affect Mukura and Rayon because of last week’s clashes but will take effect with the weekend league games.”

During this year’s Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) finals held in Kigali, a DR Congo fan was detained for allegedly using witchcraft during the semi-finals in which Florent Ibenge’s team defeated Guinea in the penalty shootouts.

Local coaches weigh in

Meanwhile, local coaches have also come out to condemn the use of witchcraft, with APR FC’s Jimmy Mulisa calling for punitive measures against teams or players found guilty.

“It is sad that we still have such beliefs in our football, it does not only give a bad image to the country but kills football development. I think FERWAFA should take serious measures against such behavior,” said the former APR and Amavubi forward.

His counterpart of Police FC, Innocent Seninga, said that; “Personally, I don’t believe in it, and I had to cut short my playing career because many teams I played for believed in witchcraft which I didn’t.”

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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