Ivory Coast Tries to Make Amends to Soccer Witch Doctors

The BBC has one of the oddest sports stories I’ve read in a long time.

It seems the Ivory Coast has never had much success in the African Nations Cup football tournament aside from 1992, when it won it all by beating Ghana in the final.

Before that final match, the Ivory Coast’s sports minister retained several witch doctors to give the nation’s team an edge over Ghana. But after the team won, the sports minister never followed through on the promises of financial reward that were made to the witch doctors. Some of the witch doctors threatened to curse the team.

Since then, the performance of the Ivory Coast team has been dismal — in both 2000 and 2002, it was eliminated in the first round from the African Nations Cup competition.

Now, the government has had a change of heart with Defence and Civil Protection Minister Moise Lida Kouassi saying that the country wants to make amends for “the promises which weren’t kept after the 1992 Nations Cup.” He’s offering them $2,000 and a bottle of liquor to once again favor the country’s football team and bring it success on the field.

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