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Football official undressed, searched over juju beliefs

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By Bernard Mhone:

There was chaos during a Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) Simso Premier Division match between Rumphi United and Chitipa United when supporters and officials of the two sides clashed over juju beliefs on Sunday.

The match took place at Rumphi Police Ground and ended 1-1.

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It is alleged that supporters of Rumphi, who are undefeated at home, attacked their counterparts in the second half after Chitipa’s effort was ruled out for offside.

Rumphi supporters and officials suspected that Chitipa leader of delegation Andrew Mgode and Vice-Treasurer Loureen Chilungulo were operating juju.

Chitipa Team Manager, Watson Kabaghe, said the home supporters assaulted and undressed them while searching for the alleged charms.

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“One of their supporters came to our substitutes’ bench and attacked one of our officials by undressing him and removing his shoes, saying he was keeping juju that was preventing Rumphi from scoring. They urinated on his head and threw sand on him so as to dilute the alleged charm,” Kabaghe said.

He said other angry supporters assaulted two Chitipa officials who received medical treatment at Rumphi District Hospital.

He said Rumphi also ordered them to maintain only two officials on the bench, instead of 20 that had travelled to the game.

Chitipa, who lead the log table, have since lodged a complaint to NRFA.

In his reaction, Rumphi Vice- General Secretary, Winston Katenga-Kaunda, admitted that his team’s supporters attacked Chitipa officials over juju suspicions.

“The fracas happened outside the pitch between our supporters and Chitipa officials. The suspected official was not undressed at all. They just lifted him from where he was, close to our goal, with the team’s treasurer because they carried bags. It was suspected that they kept charms in their bags,” Kaunda said.

He said immediately after the charms were confiscated from the Chitipa officials, Rumphi equalised.

“The man moved around the ground and, upon getting closer to our goal, Chitipa United scored. However, after he was removed from that place, we played our game freely and scored,” Kaunda said.

NRFA General Secretary, Masiya Nyasulu, expressed dismay with the juju beliefs, saying they affect domestic football development.

Nyasulu said no NRFA official witnessed the game, saying they, sometimes, rely on district officials to supervise such games.

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