Swaziland’s Only Stadium Torn Apart for Lucky Charms

AFP, June 8, 2009

The artificial turf at Swaziland’s only football stadium has been ripped apart by players who planted magic charms known as “muti” under the field, officials said on Monday.

Traditional rituals meant to help teams win their games saw the 600,000-dollar turf ripped up over the last month so the muti could be planted underneath, with the damage especially bad by the goals and at centrefield.

Government sports officer Sipho Magagula said the government might consider banning the team suspected of most of the damage at Somhlolo National Stadium on the outskirts of the capital Mbabane.

“This turf is hardly a year old,” Magagula told AFP. “Maybe we have to consider banning one big team because whenever that team would be playing at the stadium something strange would happen at the stadium.”

Sports Minister Hlobsile Ndlovu has filed a formal criminal complaint over the damage, according to local media. Police say they are investigating.

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