Ex-Super Eagles defender, Taribo West made name for himself as a dreaded footballer who won the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and 1998 UEFACup championship.
In a recent chat with The Punch, Taribo admitted contacting marabouts and herbalists to help him play better than his colleagues and even win matches for the country and his various clubs.
In his words, “Of course yes (I was involved). I don’t know why people decline to talk about their involvement with charms,” he admitted. “Football has to do with a lot of powers. When there are big events, you look at the stadium, you see people, fans invoking all kinds of things; magicians are there, voodooists are there.”
Speaking further, Taribo said, ‘In my playing days, when I was ignorant, I used to get some mallams and babalawos (traditional doctors) to make charms for us, which we took to (national) camp. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
‘In some clubs, before every game, the president or leader of the club will give you a lucky charm to play with. They will tell you to put it in your boots or socks and play. It’s their superstitious belief; that it can help them win matches.
‘There are some coaches who are connected to African magicians and soothsayers from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Zaire or even Nigeria. These people are consulted to give these coaches results of games even before the matches are played.
‘These people see strange things and they can tell you with their magic and charms, what the outcome of a match will be. People believe and use it. It works for those who believe in it. I saw it, I experienced it, I was with players that used it and I used it. So, why are people denying it? There are charms and rituals in football. It still exists,’ he revealed.
Explaining his meeting with God and quitting occultism after meeting a female pastor, Patience Ikemefuna, Taribo said, ‘God used her to change my life and ever since, my life has never been the same. I’m grateful to her.
‘When I had an encounter with God and I became born again, I discovered that these powers were powerless. It was an avenue to collect money from us. There are lots of voodoo practices in football. If you are not with God, you have to be with the devil; with the devil they come with everything,’ he reeled.