President General of the Nigerian Football Supporters’ Club, Rafiu Ladipo has admitted that for many years Nigeria used black magic, popularly known as juju, to win matches.
Speaking on a Lagos Television (LTV) programme Tuesday, Ladipo, who has been leading Nigeria’s cheer party for over two and half decades now, admitted to the use of juju in the team, but was quick to admit that the practice has now been discarded on realising that there was no place for voodoo in football.
Ladipo is regarded as the country’s foremost cheerleader who has travelled the world leading thousands of supporters to cheer Nigeria to victory.
"I was carrying Super Eagles juju for so many decades until we came to realise that juju doesn’t play football,” Ladipo said on the television programme. "We have decided to put a stop to it as there are no links between football and voodoo.
"Now we believe only in praying and fasting to help Nigeria win their matches."
Nigeria has won the Africa Cup of Nations twice, on home soil in 1980 and in Tunisia in 1994.
There have been various allegations that players also employed juju to win places in the national team ahead of their rivals.
In 2010, former World Cup star Taribo West told a local newspaper how he sought spiritual powers in Senegal at the height of a career which took him to the likes of Inter Milan, AC Milan, AJ Auxerre and Kaiserslautern.
Ladipo will lead about 300 supporters to Nelspruit, South Africa, to cheer the Eagles to victory in this month’s Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles are drawn in Group C along with champions Zambia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. They open their campaign on January 21 against Burkina Faso.