Might do some of our overpaid prima donnas some good. Footballer drowns in spirit-cleansing training ritual A Zimbabwean football player drowned in the crocodile-infested Zambezi river during a training exercise to cleanse his team of bad spirits, Reuters reports. The unnamed player joined 16 of his Midlands Portland Cement teammates in the ritual as part of the squadâs preparation for a Southern Division league match against Sao Paolo, a team based in the resort town of Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe state newspaper The Chronicle quoted Victoria Falls local police commander Peter Rodzi as saying that after the swim, the other players had noticed that one of the team was missing. Several searches failed to find any trace of the missing player. The newspaper also quoted unnamed sources as saying the players had been âforcedâ into participating in the ritual. According to Reuters, Rodzi also confirmed that swimming is prohibited in the area where the ritual took place owing to the strength of the Zambeziâs current and the presence of crocodiles and hippos. Amazingly, Midlands Portland Cement went on to fulfil the fixture. However, the match was ultimately abandoned with them trailing by a single goal. Football teams in Zimbabwe, and many other African countries, are steeped in supernatural beliefs. Many officials and players feel that stadiums are fortressed for home teams owing to juju and have come to rely on performing pre-game rituals to overcome bad spirits. It remains extremely rare for these rituals to result in death.