By Emmanuel Okogba
Almost every football pundit expected it to be a stroll in the park when they saw the draw that pitted 1998 World Cup champions, France against Nations Cup finalist, Senegal in the opening game of the 2002 FIFA World Cup that held in South Korea and Japan.
Senegal would go on to shock France 1-0 thanks to a fiasco in the 18-yard box that gifted Papa Bouba Diop a 30th minute easy tap-in; a victory nearly all of Senegal’s over 10 million citizens at the time didn’t see coming.
Emmanuel Petit who was part of the French squad that crashed out at the group stage after managing to get only a point from a bore draw against Uruguay believes Senegal used witchcraft on his side.
He attributed this to the fact that despite his side seeing numerous chances and being in possession of the ball for a larger part of the match, they could not get a win or even grind out a draw which was a fulfillment of the prophecy of a Senegalese who spoke with him a year before the World Cup.
Petit recounting the events that took place said: “A year before the Senegal-France match in 2002, a Senegalese told me”
“The marabouts have contributed. I’ll tell you an anecdote: a year before the world cup in Korea, I’m on a beach in France. I see a street vendor who comes to see me and whom I knew.
“He looks at me seriously and says to me: ‘you know the world cup which is played in a year, France will play Senegal and will lose by a goal to zero because our marabouts are very powerful in Senegal. You’ll see’. It came to my mind and I thought maybe France has been marabouts, “he said in an interview with Record.
“We were very unlucky in this match. We hit the posts and the crossbar several times. Only that goal was missing, ”he added.
Senegal got to the quarter final of the World Cup before losing in extra time to Turkey via a golden goal.
Watch highlights from the match below…