Scenes of joy after Morocco’s win over Spain in Casablanca

Subscribe to the newsletter so you don’t miss any African news “World Africa” from this link. Find a week’s worth of news and debate covered by the magazine’s editorial staff every Saturday at 6am. “World Africa”.

It’s Tuesday, December 6 at 6:45 p.m. Achraf Hakimi scored the final penalty, an arrogant panenka that took the Atlas Lions to the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup at the expense of Spain (0-0, 3-0 mark). In Morocco, there is a great uproar throughout the country. From Morocco to Tangier, through Casablanca, Kenitra or Fez, a crowd of green and red swept the streets. People shout and sing; others cry with joy or hug each other to the deafening sound of car sounds. This is the first time Morocco, a football country, reaches this level during the World Cup.

Also read: The article is reserved for our subscribers World Cup 2022: The Arab world is behind the Moroccan team in Doha

“I am shocked, I have no words. It’s ecstasy! », Yassine El Ammari, 20, shouts on a crowded avenue in Maarif, the central district of Casablanca. “Morocco became the first Arab country to reach the quarter-finals! », is happy On the African continent, it is fourth after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010).

” We did it! We wrote history, we will live it. This team is fantastic. Thanks to the players, coach Vali [Regragui] ! », 25-year-old Marwa shouts amid a compact crowd of young and old, men, women and children, chanting in unison. “Sir! Sir! Sir! » (Go where “Dima Maghrib! » (Still with Morocco!) in the smoke of smoke bombs and fireworks.

“We will talk about this to our children”

A few hours earlier, not far from there, more than 400 fans gathered at the Amistad Cafe, and everyone had one goal on their lips: to surpass the historic feat of 1986, when the Atlas Lions qualified for the finals. World Cup in Mexico, before defeating West Germany (0-1) in the round of 16. “My father always told me about this ‘1986 generation.’ He told me that we used to have good players, we beat big teams. 37-year-old Karim Moudan says. Thirty-six years later, it’s time to rewrite history. It’s up to us to be the ‘2022 generation’ and tell our kids about this World Cup! »

Also read: World Cup 2022: Tough against La Roja, Atlas Lions see away

Owned by none other than ex-Lions player Salaheddine Bassir, this mythical supporters cafe had at least seven giant screens installed for the celebration. Until the last minute, the spectators, some wrapped in red flags and others wearing green star jerseys, pushed the national teams of the last African, North African and Arab qualifiers in the run in Qatar. And this despite an increasingly breathless tension as the match progressed.

“We have an exceptional coach who knows how to convey the warmth of the Moroccan people to the team,” says 32-year-old Malak Niech.

During the thirty minutes of extra time, especially during the fateful penalty shootout, we saw faces buried in hands, fists clenched at the temples, fingernails biting from stress, frantically crumpled paper towels… “It’s hard, it’s hard,” – whispered a waiter, somehow trying to concentrate on the orders. Sitting on the terrace, 32-year-old Malak Niech believed it to the end. “We have a team of very good players, united, harmonious and, above all, we have an exceptional coach who knows how to convey the warmth of the Moroccan people to them,” says the young woman.

This is alchemy Morocco’s draw with Croatia (0-0) paid off in the group stage, where they finished first in the group after two consecutive wins against 2018 runners-up Belgium (2-0) and Canada (2-1). ). “We will play against the revelation of the World Cup” Luis Enrique, head coach of La Roja, expects a duel, according to comments in the Spanish press four days before the match against Morocco. ” very hard “.

“This team made us forget the crisis”

With this success, Morocco ended a long period of disappointments, poor performances and absences. Having never made it to the final table after participating in two World Cups in 1994 and 1998, the Atlas Lions returned to the World Cup only two decades later, in 2018. Moroccans have a bitter memory of this last competition organized in Russia. In the first round, the national team faced the Spaniards for a draw (2-2), which was lost by La Roja due to a referee error. Thus, this victory in Qatar in the round of 16 for Morocco also has the taste of revenge.

Also read: The article is reserved for our subscribers Morocco-Spain: Achraf Hakimi, star of Atlas Lions, made in Spain

Moroccans enjoyed their exploits until late at night. Amidst the crowd at Maarif in Casablanca, Azalarab, 22, a supporter of Wydad, one of Casablanca’s two soccer teams, along with Raja, is on cloud nine. According to him, he had never seen such an atmosphere in the streets of his city. “Look, tonight, even the supporters of Raja and Wydad, who are still at odds, are singing together. They are one and the same team. It’s amazing to experience something like this! »

“This is the magic of football! », 44-year-old Houcine, who came to celebrate the event with his wife and three children on the streets, emphasizes: “Football in Morocco is not just a game, Moroccans follow it with their hearts! » On Saturday, “Atlas Lions” will face Portugal in the 1/4 finals. According to Houcine, regardless of the outcome of the match, Morocco has already won the basics: “This team made us forget about the crisis and the difficulties of everyday life. He gave us the opportunity to escape. We are among the top 8 teams in this World Cup, which is a dream come true. »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *