Behind the Pogba affair, the resurgence of belief in witchcraft

A marabout, witchcraft, “spells” cast on Kylian Mbappé. It is not a Kamoulox, but the elements of an extravagant legal procedure, opened at the beginning of August. According to information from franceinfo, footballer Paul Pogba told investigators from the Central Office for the Fight against Organized Crime that he was threatened by childhood friends, like him from Lagny-sur-Marne (Seine-et -Marl).

These “friends” would claim 13 million euros from him. According to the testimony of the French footballer, these men intimidated him several times, accompanied by his own brother, Mathias. Last March, Paul Pogba was even dragged into a Parisian apartment, and threatened by two men armed with assault rifles.

“Big Revelations”

To investigators, Paul Pogba also explained that this tape would threaten to disclose the contents of a USB key. Messages would be stored there in which Pogba would ask a marabout to cast “a spell” on his opponents and some of his teammates, including Kylian Mbappé, his partner in the France team. A request that the player denies, while acknowledging having already paid a marabout of his entourage to protect himself from injury.

READ ALSO: Marabouts, extortion, 13 million: the recap ‘if you have not understood anything about the Pogba affair

The object of this presumed blackmail could give rise to a smile if it were not taken very seriously by the protagonists. In a video published this Saturday August 27, Mathias Pogba threatens his brother Paul with “big revelations”. In posts on TwitterMathias Pogba explicitly refers to this story of “witchcraft” who, in his mind, could tarnish his brother’s image and prevent him from being selected for the next World Cup.

40% of young people believe in witchcraft

A sign, no doubt, that in French society, witchcraft is no longer considered a far-fetched fad. A growing fraction of the population gives credit to this pseudoscience, defined by Larousse as a “magical practice in order to exert an action, generally harmful, on a human being (spell, bewitchment, possession), on animals or plants”.

A Ifop survey for the Jean Jaurès Foundation in December 2020 observed a resurgence of this superstition. “While it barely affected one in six French people forty years ago (18% in 1981), belief in spells and witchcraft now attracts nearly three out of ten French people: 28%, an increase of 7 points since 2000, but above all by 10 points since 1981”, revealed the investigation.

READ ALSO: Sectarian excesses: “the upper classes have a false sense of security”

These beliefs are particularly prevalent among younger people. “Today, 40% of people under 35 believe in witchcraft compared to 25% of people over 35”, continued the investigation of the Jean Jaurès Foundation which explained in particular this resurgence by the fact that “the generations born from the 1980s are much less marked by a mistrust of religious beliefs and the materialism that has been dominant until then since the post-war period”.

Football and witchcraft

Witchcraft seems to find fertile ground in football, the ground of all superstitions. The oldest remember that Luis Fernandez, former coach of PSG, poured pinches of salt in the goals and Giovanni Trapattoni, former Italian coach, sprinkled the lawn with holy water before a match of the 2002 World Cup.

These mystical practices are particularly prevalent in Africa, where some national teams are believed to have hired marabouts. In Senegal, officials of the football federation are said to have paid 90.5 million CFA francs (139,000 euros) to marabouts to ensure the success of the national team at the 2002 World Cup.

Also, in 2017, during the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations final between Senegal and Zambia, a Senegalese player threw a dead bat into the opposing goal. With this “gri-gri”, he thought he was casting a “spell” on the opposing team. The specter of witchcraft stirs up the craziest rumours. In Africa, the success of Samuel Eto’o or Didier Drogba has sometimes been explained by the intervention of marabouts.


In West Africa (Senegal, Mali, Guinea), marabouts are “Muslim scholars, [qui] assume different roles, that of teacher of the Koran, regulators of conflicts, they preside over religious ceremonies of baptisms, marriages, funerals.noted the anthropologist Liliane Kuczynski in a scientific article published in 2010.

READ ALSO: “She has gifts of clairvoyance”: the director of Hold-Up, fascinated by a guru

In France, these essentially ensure the function of “divines” and “make amulets for the most diverse problems of the contemporary city dweller”, says the anthropologist Liliane Kuczynski in a scientific article published in 2010, and the result of 20 years of field studies in Paris. So they “put to compete with the classic sighted and certain specialists in alternative medicine” on the market for family, sentimental or neighborhood relationships, according to the work of Liliane Kuczynski who notes their very diverse clientele.

The previous Carla Moreau

Like the rest of the seers, their practice is not specifically framed, which inevitably causes scams, which the press regularly echoes. In itself, the practice of “divinatory arts” is not punishable by the Penal Code, which only punishes abuses such as fraud or abuse of weakness.

And beyond the scams, this burst of superstition also serves as a means of blackmail. In March 2021, Carla Moreau, a famous reality TV candidate, reported having been the victim of a racket by a “psychic witch”, well known on social networks. The latter would have extorted 1.2 million euros from the star of reality TV, in particular by threatening to cast a spell on him and to reveal that she had used his services.

We wish to give thanks to the writer of this write-up for this outstanding content

Behind the Pogba affair, the resurgence of belief in witchcraft

Take a look at our social media accounts and other related pages