Desperate soccer team brings in witch to boost chances

A football team is employing a witch to help them escape relegation.

Bottom-of-the-table Deportes Arica are desperately trying to avoid being relegated to Chile's second division.

They hire Eliana Merino to cast out evil spirits from the dressing room, the stadium and even the players' kit.

The witch uses a ritual involving candles and smoke to 'purify' the team before kick-off.

Defender Marcelo Muñoz said: "When you're at the bottom of the table, you'll do anything to improve your position."

The team holds a whip-round to pay for the witch's services.

Winger Francisco Campos said: "We decided to give it a go, even though a few of us don't really have much faith in stuff like that."

The team now reckon her spells are working, as they have won 2 matches after her visits: "The one time she didn't come we only managed a draw," said Winger Francisco Campos.

"We're convinced she's doing something right, so now we're trying to talk her into coming with us to our away games. If we carry on like this we'll be pushing for promotion next year," he added.