The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has increased the authority of World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) to become a major authority for the fight against cheating. WADA is adamant that doping refers to the usage of banned. Substances and techniques designed to boost the performance of athletes.
Are prohibited substances define solely by their chemical composition? This is not the case according to West African athletes. Many of whom use spiritual techniques to improve their performance serious.
Soccer is play in West Africa is often associate with witchcraft. The practice is known as witchcraft in Nigeria and Cameroon the practices are known as jars or juju. They are use by athletes to boost performances in ways like doping, in the sense that WADA define it and also to destabilize their opponents. The main ingredient in these practices however, isn’t the chemical substance of these substances, but rather their spiritual power.
As per Cameroonian footballers with which I carried out my fieldwork the spiritual realm is interspersed with the material world, and the actions of the first have immediate and profound impacts on the second. In West Africa, accusations of spiritual performance-enhancing practices can be much more serious than those involving materials and chemicals.
The idea jars jars is difficult to identify, in part because it is kept in the shadows and constantly evolving. The details about these practices can found in reports and allegations. Stories refer to tiny pieces of specific herbs, bits of tree bark or threads of varying sizes that players receive from healers who entrust them with supernatural abilities.
Conscient of the fact that Cameroonian referees might punish them if found guilty, the footballers cover them in shin guards in their shoes, or those rubber straps on their shorts. Other concoctions a mixture of herbal extracts prepare by healers who drink by footballers, or cleanse their hands, faces, or feet in.
Substances And Herbs Doping
These substances and herbs can boost performance and permit players to perform amazing actions on the pitch. While certain FIFA officials have voiced concerns about these claimed African types of doping they’ve been wary of their chemical components but have ignored their more vital spiritual aspects.
One could dismiss jars as a psychological belief or as a form of an occult belief. However, the fact that athletes often scrutinize others of using it suggests that it’s more than that. When Cameroonian footballers show extraordinary skill in the game, opponents , and even their teammates, carefully scrutinize them for indication that they are using jars.
One of my players said to me that during a match, opponents made him take off his pants on the side of the court insisting that the player was hiding a spiritual token. Some users have been spot by the distinctive scent that they soak with.
Like doping, the majority of footballers in Cameroon are highly disapproving of using jars, arguing that players should get rid of the practice once and for all.
Age Tampering Doping
Another type that is cheating, a public fact within the international soccer world is when players lie regarding their age. Players from all over the globe submit documents to their clubs of choice which state that they are not more than 19 years old. age.
In Cameroon preparation for trials at European football clubs typically involves obtaining documents that prove that the player is younger than he is. While football clubs and sporting bodies attempt to identify and sanction footballers, West African footballers do not view the practice as cheating.
They alter their age in the hope to level the playing field. They seek to make up for the fact that young athletes from their Global North, who from an early age have greater access to an excellent equipment and sports facilities and are in a better situation to develop their athletic abilities into a successful career.
As international sporting organizations talk about athletes taking individual responsibility for different types of cheating. Young African footballers confront the power dynamics that they believe made against them.
In adjusting their age they are challenging ethical high ground upon the which international sports organizations claim to be based. And prove that cheating is not always cheating, but rather an opportunity to test the power of unequal relationships.
What Exactly Is Cheating And The Definition Of It?
The anti-doping policies of WADA found on the separation of the mind and the body. The biological and the physical, as well as the spiritual. The focus is always on the physical as if being an clean athlete means being free of banned chemicals.
Although the form of regulation WADA will apply globally is beneficial, it is not in line with the values. That are the norm for West African athletes, for who the spiritual and physical are deeply intertwine.
Are jars a form of doping that WADA should try to regulate? Do international sporting bodies need to take action against players’ age-related tampering? Absolutely not.
The importance of faith in sports isn’t limit to Africa. It is not just a matter of religion. Thai manager of Leicester City famously flew buddhist. Monks to Thailand for blessing the team during the club’s incredible 2015-2016 campaign.
The African game gives us a different insight into what performance-enhancing and cheating really mean. The change in perspective lets us to not take. The definitions of WADA and IOC as a given and stop interpreting them as universal truths.
Instead, we need to look at them as what they are: hegemonic ideas created in a specific time period. Derived from a certain philosophical viewpoint and interpreted from the position of power.