With two weeks to the County Meet, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has introduced the ‘Code of Conduct,’ which is expected to ‘check’ staff from the Ministry, referees, and the match officials to curtail cheating, match-fixing and other corrupt practices “to ensure that the objective of the 59 year old national sports tournament is achieved.”
The Code of Conduct bans the involvement of three groups of match officials directly and indirectly with the games and the teams, and their penalties, but did not include the prohibition of the public display of juju.
Perhaps the Ministry is yet to realize that it’s the public display of juju is creeping into the county meet.
In Africa and particularly Liberia, where juju is common among us, footballers have consulted anyone who may have the ability to help outside the game through spiritual means.
The reactivation of the County Sports Meet after the civil war has changed the true pleasure of the game, with some counties using juju to overcome their opponents similarly as Diego Maradona, the former coach of Argentina hinted at some African countries using juju to win.
During the past County Meet, fans were seen with juju pots in country cloth – probably to ward off opponents’ devils or to evoke good will on their side.
Sometimes fans held animal’s tails with their teeth to swing along with their beard, and chant loudly while running in the crowd and on the field.
County Meet players are reported to drink herbs to boost their performance while others bath with herbs to neutralize any ‘medicine’ that would be used against them. Others have said county teams bury ‘substances’ on the field.
In spite of whatever that have been seen or rumoured, such public display of juju should not be ignored and its prohibition should claim the attention of the ministry.
“The Ministry should make it part of its Code of Conduct to stop counties from using juju and come up with penalties for violators,” David Nah of Maryland said.
Emmanuel Flomo of Lofa said, “Juju isn’t uncommon in sports, and football and its players are no exception to this rule.”
“Public display of juju in any form should be banned from the field,” Nathaniel Toe of Gbarpolu said.
Regretfully, during the two-day capacity building and information sharing workshop conducted for the Ministry’s staff, referees, statisticians, monitors, match officials and counties’ sports coordinators, the chairman of the 2015/2016 County Meet, Deputy Sports Minister Henry B. Yonton, Jr., remained silent on the issue.
Howbeit five sports coordinators said the practice of juju in the county sports meet is gradually becoming noticeable.
The men in separate interviews with the Daily Observer said they are not crying foul to justify their losses in the past but called on the co-organizer, the Ministry of Internal Affairs to take note of it.