Black Magic to Get on the National Team… UAE Players’ Desperate Measure

You know the Five Stages of Grief? A process by which people deal with grief and tragedy? While some probably wouldn’t categorize “not being called up for your national team” under “grief & tragedy”, there are others who aren’t limited by the stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. No, some jump straight to witchcraft and try to put a curse on the player that’s been called instead of them.

It happened in the United Arab Emirates, where (former) UAE internationals Faisal Khalil (Al-Ahli) and Subait Khater (Al-Jazira) were arrested on suspicion of practising “black magic” and casting spells against other players, this shortly after their non-call-up by UAE manager Dominique Bathenay. According to Saudi newspaper Al Shams (The Sun), Khalil and Khater were arrested in Dubai with two Omani “sorcerers” at the end of last month, with the accusation of ill will intentions toward national team colleagues Ismail Matar and Ismail Al Hammadi (who were called up in their place). Khalil currently remains in custody, while Khater was released in time to return to his club at the weekend.

According to the same newspaper, the Omani sorcerers had been hired to perform magic similar to African “JuJu”, that could include animal sacrifices, self-mutilation, the casting of spells, the use of lucky charms and odious concoctions. While “Juju” is very widespread in the African continent, its use in the Middle East certainly comes as a surprise, in particular because Faisal Khalil is one of his country’s star players: he was league topscorer last season, receiving the MVP award (and the €40,000 prize money + luxury car that went with it), in addition of leading UAE to their prestigious Gulf Cup of Nations victory.

Practicising witchcraft is a very serious offense in Islamic countries, and is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. As a reminder, early this year 13 people were killed when a riot ensued after a player attempted to use witchcraft on the opposition in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nyuki were losing to local rivals Socozaki last month when Nyuki’s goalkeeper advanced up the pitch and tried to cast a spell that would turn the game in his side’s favor.

Can you imagine if this stuff happened in Italy? I’m scared to think what Antonio Cassano would do to Lippi if he didn’t call him up for South Africa 2010…

[via Gazzetta and The National]

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Posted in World News |

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  • 2 Responses to “Black Magic to Get on the National Team… UAE Players’ Desperate Measure”

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    2. [...] the use of curses and forms of witchcraft is not exclusive to African soccer: it is relatively easy to find examples from other parts of the world, including rumors that in his desperation (and apparent lack of [...]