As most die-hard football fans will tell you, players, coaches, and fans are very superstitious.
Omens and rituals put fight in players or make them despondent, as the case may be. Every experienced footballer and coach has his own little rites.
Sometimes, superstition goes a bit too far and people end up hurt or even getting killed.
Africa is a continent well-known for its outrageous superstitious rituals, with its witch-doctors and all. One of the more absurd out of control cases of superstitions took place in Zimbabwe last week.
A player from Midlands Portland Cement, active in the Zimbabwean Savanna Southern Division One, drowned in the Zambezi River last weekend.
The team's coach sent his squad into the Zambezi river in a ritual cleansing ceremony. The goal of this ceremony was to improve the team's fortunes, their "juju." The plan somewhat back-fired, but only slightly.
The coach sent 17 players into the river, but only sixteen of them returned to pick up their clothes.
When they noticed a player was missing, the local authorities were warned. Search parties were sent out, but the missing players was nowhere to be found.
At this point, I'd like to inform you that the Zambezi is known for it's strong currents and the river also supports large populations of crocodiles and hippopotamuses, both of which are known to be man killers.
The missing player was probably either attacked and killed by one of these animals or swept away by the current.
The team decided to go ahead with their next league fixture against Sao Paulo from Victoria Falls, despite the bad omen. It probably would've been wiser to postpone the game, as the match was abandoned when Midlands was 1-0 down.
I guess that this team will take a less drastic approach to superstition next time...