Ronaldo’s Hair, Other Rituals in Sports History After Egypt Slaughter Calf at AFCON 2023

Ronaldo’s Hair, Other Rituals in Sports History After Egypt Slaughter Calf at AFCON 2023

Martin Moses
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
  • The Egypt Football Federation sacrificed a cow for good fortune at the 2023 AFCON
  • They were, however, eliminated by DR Congo in the round of 16 on January 28
  • We take a look at some of the other sports rituals and whether they worked before

Before their quarterfinal match against the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Egyptian FA confirmed that they had sacrificed a cow.

Team spokesman Mohamed Morad said that the cow was killed in Cairo and distributed freely in a bid to bring good fortune to the team in the 2023 AFCON campaign.

Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, Tiger Woods, Serena illiams
Mohamed Salah sits on the pitch after injuring himself during Egypt's game against Ghana on January 18. Photo by MB Media.
Source: Getty Images

The seven-time African champions had lost two of their key men in Ivory Coast- Mohamed Salah to a muscle strain while first-choice goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy dislocated his shoulder. Emam Ashour was ruled out with a concussion.

The FA also revealed that they did a similar trick en route to winning the 2008 AFCON title. This time around, the trick didn't work as DR Congo edged them on post-match penalties to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals.

Sports rituals

What are some of the other rituals you've heard of in sports history? Do you believe the superstitions work? Sports Brief looks at some of them.

5. Herve Renard's shirt

The French tactician is widely known and revered in Africa as the only coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations with two different teams.

He did it with Zambia in 2012 before switching to Ivory Coast in 2015. In both cases, he peculiarly spotted a white shirt on match days.

"Sometimes I am superstitious. That will never change. I won two Africa Cup of Nations on a white shirt, so you want me to change for what?" he told Ghana journalist, Juliet Bawuah.

Renard also wore a shirt when he led Saudi Arabia to a historic 2-1 win over Lionel Messi's Argentina at the 2022 World Cup.

4. Serena Williams socks

The American has won 23 Grand Slams in her career and is arguably the best female tennis player ever. Rumour has it that, in her active years, she didn't change her socks while on a winning streak from the first round to the final.

It sounds unhygienic, but as the New York Times puts it, if it works, stick with it.

3. Tiger Woods' red shirt

It is believed that Tiger Woods' competitors dreaded nothing more than the golf ace appearing on D-Day Sunday with his trademark red shirt.

The golfer explained that he traced the colour to his mother's roots, who hails from Thailand.

"I've worn red ever since my college days, basically, or junior golf days – big events on the last day. I just stuck with it out of superstition, and it worked. I chose a school that was red, and we wore red on our final day of events. So it worked out," he said in 2013, as reported by Golf News Net.

2. Sergio Goycochea urination

Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Goyochea was pressed during the 1990 World Cup quarterfinal match against the Czech Republic. He couldn't, however, leave the field of play until the game was over.

He urinated on the pitch with the Albiceleste going on to win the penalty shootout. He did it again in the semi-finals against Italy and it worked and thus, he adopted it as 'his thing.'

"At the end of the game, I really had to go, so I had no choice. But we won, so then when the semi-final against Italy went to penalties, I did it again - and it worked! So, from that moment on, I did it before every shootout. It was my lucky charm," he told the Guardian.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo's hair

Arguably one of the best football players of all time, Ronaldo is said to have changed his hairstyle at halftime, where he would tie or comb it up before re-emerging.

Mauricio Pochettino's rituals

Sports Brief has also reported that Chelsea's head coach, Mauricio Pochettino, has a bizarre set of rituals that he has used in his managerial career.

Forget his tactical acumen and man management; the former Tottenham Hotspur coach has other rituals or superstitions he holds dear to his heart.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)