He claims club owe him P87 500 for muti
The traditional doctor, who claims to have supplied Mochudi Centre Chiefs with the muti that helped them win the Premier League title last season, is taking the football club to court in a P87 500 claim for unpaid fees.
Lawyers for the Palapye based doctor, Molaiemang Nkganetsang, 44, served the club with the writ last week for failing to make payments for ‘ritual cleansing of playing grounds before games, provision of muti and associated works in strengthening players and all other necessary traditional doctor expertise to enhance the club’s performance.’
Apart from taking the club to court, the doctor has threatened to put a curse on the team if they do not pay him the money owed.
In a dispute that exposes the widespread use of muti in football, League champions Centre Chiefs face legal action and the wrath of the traditional doctor who claims the club owes him P87, 500 for his services.
Ironically just as officials and players maintained the club do not use muti in an attempt to influence games, the 44-year-old doctor revealed that a club representative had visited him again on Wednesday in Palapye. He said that the club official paid P1000 cash for muti to help the club in their rearranged game against GU that evening. The game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Slamming Chiefs with the law suit last week, his attorneys named chairman Ernest Molome and club officials Seata Pilane and Dennis Keagile as representing the club when they entered into an oral agreement for his services in February 2010.
Speaking to The Voice this week, Molaiemang Nkganetsang said he decided to take the case to his lawyer after Chiefs failed to settle their debts though he helped them to win the league last season. He said that when he threw his bones, ancestors told him the matter would be resolved in court.
The doctor, who is registered with the United Herbalist Society and is affiliated with the Dingaka Association, claims to be a specialist in helping football teams win games by supplying them with herbs.
“First I was the Ecco City Greens and then became the Gaborone United doctor. I abandoned them in 2010 because Chiefs gave me a better offer of two thousand pula while GU were paying me one thousand. Every game I give them muti for washing the kit, for the goalkeeper and one that players put into their socks,” Nkganetsang said.
He explained that the muti strengthens players and brings fatigue and confusion to their opponents. For ground cleansing he said that he went to stadiums with officials the night before a game, and made arrangements with security officers to allow him access to carry out the cleansing ritual.
He maintained that Chiefs were so dependent on his services that when their game against Tafic scheduled to be played at the UB stadium, was changed to SSKB at short notice, they successfully appealed to have it postponed since he had already carried out the cleansing ritual.
Nkganetsang said last season he charged the club P25 000 to cover all league games, P20 000 for the Coca Cola Cup, and P4000 for the Mascom Top 8 Championship.
“When I asked them to pay since they won the league title they kept on giving excuses and said they would pay after the cup games. Although they reached the finals of the Coca Cola Cup, I decided to use my powers to make them lose it because they were not paying me,” he added
He warned that he has the powers to curse Chiefs and make them relegate to the 4th division, but for the good of football he hoped they would pay him before it came to that.
Although Nkganetsang produced receipts he had apparently given to the club, and showed messages on his phone communicating with team officials about his payments, Chiefs officials have denied using muti to influence matches.
When contacted for comment club chairman Ernest Molome said he did not know anything about the case. He was adamant that the club had never engaged the services of a traditional doctor. “I am a Christian and do not believe in muti,” he insisted.
For his part club Seata Pilane, the club official who the doctor claimed had collected muti from him for the Wednesday evening game after paying P1000 in cash, admitted he knew the doctor but had never consulted him professionally.
He confirmed that he had been in the area on Wednesday, but had gone to Serowe on business.
Voice columnist Pontsho Moloi, who captained Chiefs for the better part of last season and played a major part in their success, also reacted angrily to suggestions that the club uses muti.
“This is absolute lies – we do not use muti at Centre Chiefs. Whoever that doctor is, I think he just wanted to use our team’s name to attract more customers,” he said.
The club has until 14 November to respond to the summons.
THE USE OF MUTI IN BOTSWANA FOOTBALL
China Mading Speaks Out
FC Satmos Director Mooketsi China Mading says muti has been part of our football for a long time.
Speaking to Voice Sport on Wednesday afternoon Mading said even during his playing days as goalie for Black Peril, Nico United, Tafic and the Zebras, muti was a recognized part of the game.
“All the clubs I played for used muti. Even at the national team it was used,” said Mading.
Quizzed on the purpose of muti the celebrated former keeper responded: “It’s all psychological. If players believe in it you can even secretly mix soil and water and it will work for them. Believe me they will play to their best and at the end of the game tell you that the muti has worked wonders.”
He went on to say: “At times muti is used because some players believe it works and demand it. At times all it takes is getting them to put salt in their boots and tell them it will neutralise their opponents’ muti.”
Mading who says he no longer use muti personally, nor at his club, added that the belief in muti is harmful to the development of football.
“These days it has become costly because the practitioners charge per game and the cost can be a few thousand pula. At times officials spend money on muti and ignore necessities like proper training, paying players and getting playing gear,” he told Voice Sport.
“During our playing days you got muti for the whole season for a reasonable price. These days traditional doctors mostly help the highest bidder and this is costing the clubs a lot of money that could be used on football necessities,” he said.
The Satmos boss further said that it was high time clubs realised that success in football is about preparing the team well and taking care of the players’ welfare rather than using strange concoctions in the hope it will work wonders for the team on the field of play.
Another who acknowledged the use of muti in local football but dismissed it as useless is Botswana Football Association Phillemon Makhwengwe.
“It’s a useless, money wasting practice that has no place in modern football,” a bemused Makhwengwe told Voice Sport.