Morocco’s dream of victory dashed but a moment of interest and pride for the fans
Fans say that the Moroccan team has united the Muslim and especially the Arab world with its wonderful game. Morocco will now compete with Croatia for the third place in the World Cup Qatar’s Al Bait Stadium, Arabic for ‘home’, was the venue for the World Cup semi-finals and here the Moroccan team was feeling just like the host nation’s team. Every French touch was greeted with deafening whistles and every phase of Moroccan possession of the ball heightened the emotions. The Moroccan fans chanted in unison in Arabic that meant, “Bring us the cup, boy.”
“I thought I’d watch the first three games and go home,” said Fouad, a Moroccan fan who traveled from Boston to watch the match.
We have all been suffering from Covid and inflation for two years.” He added that Morocco’s performance “made us forget all our problems, it made us realize our lost happiness.”
About 5 million Moroccans live in different countries of the world. This situation is also reflected in the Moroccan football team, which has 14 players born outside the country. However, individuals with no Moroccan heritage also supported the Moroccan team known as the “Atlas Lions”. “All Arabs are united,” says Rima, who is among them. Speaking to DW, she said, “I’m from Jordan and I traveled from Dubai to cheer up Morocco.” It has united all the countries of the Arab region
Another foreign fan, Ali from Egypt, said, “Because we are Muslims and Arabs, we should support each other. It doesn’t matter if they don’t win. Thank you Morocco!
It’s a sentiment echoed by many in Qatar. Moroccan fans joined forces with fans from Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar at Doha’s famous Souq Waqf to celebrate, waving their national flags after each unexpected win.
Abdul, who traveled alone from Morocco to watch the game, said, “The Arab world has never been more united than it has ever been in history. Everyone wanted us to win
The Moroccan team is in disarray
Waleed Regraghai is largely responsible for all this excitement. He was appointed coach of Morocco in the month of August.
He oversaw this rather surprising transformation of the team as coach. Star players Hakeem Zech and Nussir Mazrawi were dropped from the squad by the former coach in 2021 and then in February 2022 both the players rejected their request to join the team. His rejoining the team was made possible by Regargai. The new coach quickly built the team into a strong and organized unit.
“Moroccan people are proud and the whole world is proud because we played football with honesty and hard work,” Regragai said after the match against France. The most important thing is to present a good image. Let’s show the world that Moroccan football exists and we have beautiful supporters.”
Regaragui will have another chance to rally fans from the Arab region when his team takes on Croatia for third place on Saturday, September 17, a day before the World Cup final.
More than 100 fans of the Moroccan football team were arrested in Belgium
Small clashes between Moroccan and French football team supporters also took place in several French cities. A boy died after being hit by a car in the southern French city of Montpellier.
Police in Belgium have arrested more than a hundred fans of the Moroccan football team. The men were arrested for rioting in the capital Brussels after Morocco’s loss to France in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup on Wednesday night.
According to Belgian police, the arrested persons are facing charges of disturbing the peace, damaging two police vehicles and illegally possessing fireworks. At the same time, in the city of Antwerp, the police have arrested several fans of the Moroccan football team. According to local news agency Belga, officials feared a stalemate similar to the one sparked by protests in Belgium and the Netherlands following Belgium’s group stage defeat by Morocco.
French fans celebrate
Despite the euphoric scenes across France, police mobilized around 10,000 officers to prevent any unrest during and after the match between Morocco and its former neo-colonial ruler (France).
French police dispersed a group of fireworks fans near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and used tear gas against soccer fans who set off firecrackers in the southern city of Nice.
Police also made around 170 arrests across the country, including a group of around 40 people, who were linked to far-right groups. It is reported that these persons were caught with prohibited weapons.
The tragedy at Montpellier
In the southern French city of Montpellier, Moroccan fans responded to the loss with fireworks and blocked the streets. A 14-year-old boy died in hospital shortly after suffering serious injuries after being hit by a cork, local authorities said. In footage posted on social media, fans were seen pulling the French flag from the driver of the car involved in the crash before it made a sudden U-turn.
The police investigation of this accident is ongoing