Fighting Dark Magic and Cold Weather: the Non-scoring Tale of Aruna Dindane

He hasn’t scored in the French Ligue 1 since December 8, and in the African Cup of Nations, his performance was average at best. What on Earth seems to be the problem for Ivorian striker Aruna Dindane?

Dark magic, that’s what. At least according to some people back in Africa…

Straight from the headlines of L’Équipe (France’s official sports newspaper), there’s a story that appeared earlier this week concerning the lack of scoring proficiency of the RC Lens player. Citing the weekly Ivorian newspaper FlashAfrik, the article explains Dindane may have been put under a spell cast by a malevolent marabout.

For those who don’t know what a marabout is, I’ll refer to you the variety of knowledge a simple Google search has to offer, but suffice to say that it’s an Islamic spiritual leader whose activity sometimes extends to clairvoyance, healing and witchcraft. Yannick NoahMarabouts are often an integral part of national team staff in Africa, often under the job description of ‘psychological advisor’, and for Cameroon for example, this role is given to Yannick Noah (a French ex-tennis player of Cameroonian descent, who has also had quite a succesful music career). I guess it wasn’t enough for Cameroon to win the ACN final, but I digress.

Going back to the topic at hand, fortunately a woman seems to be ‘keeping guard’ on Dindane: a certain Awa Coulibaly claims to be regularly having dreams involving the Ivorian player, often in situations which would put any ‘Man vs. Wild’ show to shame. “One night, an ox wanted to harm Dindane but I prevented him”. Another time, “he was fighting a bull“. The woman goes as far as to claim she wakes up with cuts and bruises in the morning, as if she was indeed confronted to animals of the bovine family during her sleep. “When that happens“, she says, “I sacrifice an animal and ask the player’s parents to do the same. When they don’t, I wake up with swollen limbs as if I was beaten during the night“. No, I don’t know if the lady’s married and whether child services have visited the Coulibaly house yet.

So far, Ms. Coulibaly has sacrificed two sheep and a turkey in the fight against ‘evil’, but there’s no telling how many more animals will have to die on the altar before Dindane’s ‘curse’ is lifted. As for the player himself, he says he’s not paying much attention to the whole thing: “It’s true, there are plenty of stories like this in Africa” declared Dindane. “But I prefer not getting involved. As far as I’m concerned, I can explain my current lack of form with the difficulty of adapting to the French Winter“.

Dindane’s mother agrees: “There are many people who call me telling me they have ‘revelations’ to make about my son. I always tell them that Aruna is not only my son, he is the son of Ivory Coast and the son of Africa. I have put his fate in the hands of Allah, only he will decide what happens to him“. In other words, no chicken, sheep, or goat blood is being shed in the Dindane house. Animal rights societies will be glad…

Marco Pantanella is the Chief Editor of Soccerlens and the Author & Editor of the mCalcio blog.

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