New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Superstition Rocks Afcon

AFRICANS and superstition are like Siamese twins. They live and feed off each other just like Sunday's row over women proved it.

Fans attached to Ghana, DR Congo and Niger are planning a formal complaint to the 2013 Orange Nations Cup organizers to slap a ban on women from getting anywhere near their players at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

They have in fact requested employees at the stadium not to allow them occupy the ground floor where the changing rooms are.

"We have been told (to implement that) because in North Africa, women bring bad luck to teams and also that they are associated with witchcraft," an employee at the Nelson Mandela Stadium was quoted in the Daily Sun.

Ghana and DR Congo played out to a thrilling 2-2 draw on Monday at the said stadium and it's not clear whether any of the sides could have been affected by this. Niger, Angola, Cape Verde and Mali also have matches scheduled there.

AFCON organizers refused to comment on the allegations while Gender Equality Commissioner Javu Baloyi called for the ban to be condemned.

"Women go to soccer matches to support their teams and not to distract players. Winning or losing games has nothing to do with women," she stressed.

One female fan added that: "This is degrading to our dignity as women. It's an insult that takes us way right back to apartheid."

This was all before a local sangoma Bhayilatsholoza Mngambe put the argument to rest. He pointed that: "It's a good practice to restrict women. According to African culture women aren't allowed to get close to the troops during war. The AFCON tournament is like a war!"

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