Simba Coach Discusses His Sides’ Pre-Match ‘Juju’

Lorenz Kohler
April 25, 2022

After many were left stunned about Simba SC seemingly performing some sort of Muti ritual on the centre circle of Orlando Stadium on Sunday the Tanzanian giants’ coach reacted to the incident.

Pablo Franco Martin saw his side go out on penalties against Orlando Pirates, who booked their spot in the CAF Confederations Cup semi-final after beating the Ligi Kuu Bara champions 4-3 in the shootout.

However, one of the biggest talking points of the match happened before the match already, when Simba’s players formed a huddle in the centre circle of Orlando Stadium and smoke appeared from their midst.

Pictures showed the Simba squad burnt something on the grass, with a video by iDiski Times showing a member of the Buccaneers’ technical staff pouring water over the area immediately after the incident.

Franco, a former assistant coach of Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid, though, said he wasn’t part of the ritual and also questioned whether it really helps in African football.

“To be honest, I heard something but I was not there. I was in the dressing room,” he said when asked by iDiski Times’ about the incident. “Your colleague spoke about East Africa, but I think those things happen in all [of] Africa.

“This juju, this superstition, it’s not anything different than that. I also can talk about the holes in the penalty spots or in the corners, part of the field that you cannot use the day before.

“Here [in Africa] many of you are playing these mind-games. This is something from where I’m coming from [Spain], it’s impossible to see. I’m not going to say that I like it, but to be honest, to burn something I think it’s not going to help anyone. It’s just a matter of superstition.

“Some are singing and some other teams are playing or whatever, there are [mind-]games like this or superstitions like this or beliefs like this and I think there are more important things than these things. I think there are more important things to talk about.”

Pirates will now face Al Ahli Tripoli in the CAF Confederations Cup semi-final after the Libyan side beat local rivals Al Ittihad on Sunday evening.

Story: Lorenz Kohler.

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