Former Ghana midfielder, Derek Boateng, has admitted that black magic (‘juju’) ruined Black Stars’ chances of winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Ghana exited from the competition at the semifinals after losing to Burkina Faso on penalties.
In the third-place playoff, the Black Stars again lost 3:2 on penalties to Mali.
According to the former Fulham star, the use of ‘juju’ was a common practice during the 2013 Afcon held in South Africa and admitted it was the reason Ghana failed to play in the finals.
“Yes, I had teammates who used ‘juju’ to play. I have seen a lot of things and they are really bad. Sometimes some of the Black Stars players you cannot even go to their rooms because of the kind of smell that is there. I believe every player has what they believe in which will help them play very well,” he told Joy FM.
“An example is the AFCON 2013 tournament in South Africa. After the tournament, a lot of things went bad for us, we couldn’t meet our target. So after everything, we had a meeting with the coach and everyone aired their views but I was silent because I knew the kind of things (black magic) some of the players were doing.
“So I sat down and said nothing because it wasn’t going to change anything. At this point, Asamoah Gyan noticed it and asked why I was not saying anything and I told him the players have already said everything so there was nothing to add but the coach also insisted I say something since I was part of the senior players in the squad.
“This was prior to our game against Mali in the 3rd and 4th placement game. So I stood up and addressed the team saying we are all here to defend Ghana, whoever that is here should do anything within their reach to make the team win the game but don’t do anything to destroy any player so you can get to be in the starting lineup.
“So if you know you can pray for Ghana, do so, if you know you can eat an orange in order to secure a win, do it but don’t do something against your brother so you have the chance to play,” he said.
He added that he is a Christian and as such he has his personal routine before the start of every game.
“When we go to the dressing room, I have my Bible with me, I have shirts that have the inscription of Jesus under my jersey, I recite Psalm 23 thrice then I go on my knees and pray before we go to the field. I also pray when I get to the pitch.
“This is because it is what I believe in. others also believe in something else. I am not complaining, they can do whatever they want and I cannot change anyone. And all these are geared towards defending the country. So when you talk about ‘juju’, yes some of my colleagues do things,” he added.
In the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea/Gabon, Goran Stevenovic, the head coach of Ghana during the continent’s showpiece in his report said the use of ‘juju’ is very common in the camp of the Black Stars and even advised the Ghana Football Association to do something about it.