The Egyptian national football team was met with heavy rains and thunderstorms upon its arrival in Niamey, the capital of Niger, where it will participate in the second round of playoffs in the African Nations Cup football tournament.
The trip from Cairo took a total of 13 hours, including a one-hour layover in the Libyan city of Tripoli. Team members were reportedly rattled as the plane touched down amid turbulent weather conditions.
They were met at the airport by fans of Niger’s national team, including several local sorcerers who performed magical rituals–some involving live goats–before the disconcerted Egyptians. Some magicians went so far as to spray the Egyptian footballers with mysterious potions.
Essam al-Hadari, captain of the Egyptian team, urged local authorities to disperse the sorcerers, but to little effect. At one point, al-Hadari himself almost clashed with one of the more aggressive medicine men.
The sorcerers continued to spray the Egyptian players with potions until the latter boarded their bus to the stadium.
In an effort to ward off the effects of maleficent magic, prominent Egyptian footballer Mohamed Abu Treika cited verses from the Quran, while teammate Amr Zaki punched one of the sorcerers in the face.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.