PROPHETIC Healing Deliverance Ministries (PHD) leader Prophet Walter Magaya yesterday claimed that football is contaminated by Satanism and vowed to stamp out the scourge.

He made the claims during the launch of a $30,000 World Navi Northern Region Division One Soccer League Top Eight tournament which his church is sponsoring through the Yadah TV division.

Magaya, making reference to the Luis Suarez biting incident at the Brazil World Cup, said he decided to bankroll the tournament as a counter to Satanism and juju that he believes has taken over the game the world over.

"The reason (for sponsoring football) is because of Suarez, the guy who bit an opponent – the guy with tattoos all over his body. I was very shocked and realised that football is being dominated by Satanism and I want to strongly believe that football is also dominated by juju. So the reason why I’m sponsoring football is to encourage people to pray, to encourage people to seek God," said Magaya.

"We believe that it (sponsoring a tournament) is a way for us to spread the gospel. There are many ways of spreading the gospel and we verily hope and trust that at the end of the tournament, many people would have been touched by our gospel and surrender their lives to Jesus," added Magaya, who is one of the major sponsors of Division One side Yadah Gunners.

The team is currently topping the Northern Division One log table.

The draw for the tournament, which will involve teams who were in the top eight as at midseason this year, was also conducted at the launch and offered mouth-watering clashes.

Gunners were paired against Starbill and the other match will pit service teams Flame Lily and ZRP Black Mambas.

Bindura United will play Ngezi Platinum, while Mushowani Stars will battle for a place in the last four with Lake Harvest.

The semi-final draw was also conducted at the same function with the winner of the Gunners-Starbill match to face the winner of the Mushowani-Lake Harvest encounter.

The victors in the Bindura-Ngezi match and Flame Lily-Black Mambas will face off in the other semis. The tournament kicks off this weekend.

Tournament winners will get $8,000 and a floating trophy while the losing finalists will walk away with $5,000.

The latest tournament is yet another achievement for the Northern Region Premier League executive after they managed to clinch deals with Japan World Navi, a leading company in the pre-owned auto export business, who are the league's premier sponsor.

The Willard Manyengavana-led executive has also managed to secure a partnership with local company Supreme Panel beaters who sponsor individual awards.

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