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Football – The Universal Language

June 3, 2010

so reads the caption of an exhibit in the Livingstone Museum.  This is my first trip into a museum in over a month of travel in Africa.  There are various displays on the history of football around the world, including the original Cambridge Rules from 1848 and home made footballs of the type used in villages and townships.  Some excerpts from the displays:

Challenges in the Management of Football

“In Zambia………..the allegation of interference from the political fraternity, or simply, the government………As a result of the different positions held by the government and FAZ (Football Association of Zambia), time and again, a stand-off akin to fiasco emerges between the two, thereby retarding the smooth development of football.”

It’s an understatement to say that football is taken very seriously here.  A few days ago, the national newspaper The Post quoted the president of Zambia saying that the country would not benefit from the World Cup in South Africa because they were not prepared.

Footballers and HIV/AIDS

“Because of their stardom, a number of young females strive to socialize with them.  Unfortunately some of the players become overwhelmed with temptation and so end up having multiple sexual partners, a practice which eventually results in a number of them failing to enjoy a full progression in the game.”

Hooliganism and Violence in Football

“In 1999 referee Stephen Lungu died after he was beaten by a riotous mob following a league match.”

Black Magic “Juju” in Football

“It is a well established fact in the football fraternity that the best medicine to success in football is regular practice, good coaching, qualitative football infrastructure and administration.  However, in most parts of Africa, Zambia inclusive, belief in “juju” in football has been rife.”

The exhibit has some quotes from a top player of the 50’s and 60’s saying that the players carry charms, and smoke cigars “containing African herbs and other powdered stuff so the effect was that we felt lighter in the chest and we could run 120 minutes, playing attacking football without getting tired.”  They also planted “juju” on the opponents’ pitch.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Evan permalink
    June 3, 2010 4:41 pm

    Can you get me some of those African herbs? I’d like to feel lighter in the chest during some of our tennis rallies. Thanks Sariah!

    • June 3, 2010 6:33 pm

      I have to stay on the right side of the law here, a friend of ours just got in trouble, having to pay the police a fine for “littering”. She spat out a little bit of sugar cane in Tanzania.

  2. June 3, 2010 8:26 pm

    ..to be fair, that friend is likely to be in trouble wherever she is in the world. I don’t think it’s just an African thing.

    • June 3, 2010 8:52 pm

      yes, but all the same, Diek needs to be warned. Nice to see you on the blog ICE, and thanks again for mailing/DVD.

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