Sidi Ifni- Whenever one travels across the world, it is normal to meet and hear people applauding and standing in ovation when their favorite team wins. But I don't think it should be to the extent that in a Moroccan family, for instance, we come across a father clapping his hands over a Real player scoring a goal, a mother applauding the other side, Barca, and children being divided into supporters of Barca and others into fans of Real.
Sidi Ifni- Whenever one travels across the world, it is normal to meet and hear people applauding and standing in ovation when their favorite team wins. But I don’t think it should be to the extent that in a Moroccan family, for instance, we come across a father clapping his hands over a Real player scoring a goal, a mother applauding the other side, Barca, and children being divided into supporters of Barca and others into fans of Real.
In virtually every Moroccan cafe, we hear whistles, harangue, curses, noise, hand clapping, intermittent applause on the part of either Barca fans or Real ones. All this fuss is made by Moroccans, not for themselves, but for Spaniards. Personally, I can’t help but mistake these Moroccans for Spaniards.
It never matters if a Moroccan falls in love with a certain team, be it Barca or Real. What matters instead is when Moroccans either consciously or unconsciously feel alienated, especially when they are talking about these two teams as if they were Moroccan and defend them as if they were defending their “Moroccanness.” Moroccans have got such passion for the teams that they often ask each other whether they are ‘Reali’ or ‘ Barcawi.’ It all depends on the answer to be considered as part of a similar team or a different one even if the two teams are all Spanish in all respects.
Moroccans, especially young ones, cry over the loss of their favorite Spanish team and feel glorious if the team happens to win. Some other Moroccans gamble over the Spanish winner and the Spanish loser as though they were serving Spain and crossing their fingers with bated breath for the Champion winner. As is the case now, many Moroccans fall in love with Spanish football, and over time, they aren’t aware that they are being estranged and alienated. Have a close look at the posters hung on the walls at the hairdresser’s, at the shirts with either Barca or Real logos worn by Moroccan youth, and at other Moroccans’ profile photos on Facebook showing Messi or other celebrities in either Spanish team.
Spanish football has now colonized the minds of a large number of Moroccans – not to the extent that they have enjoyable time watching a Spanish football match during the Champion League and then it is over –
but to the extent that they vehemently integrate into their private lives the matches, the dribbles, the mistakes of the players, the tactics of the coach, what a certain player should have done and what another shouldn’t have missed, and so on. Many Moroccans, especially the young, concern themselves daily with Barca and Real, discussing the latest news about the two teams, expressing their worry about a certain player with an injury, talking about the new tactics employed by a certain team, dreaming about their ideal player and uttering their names while sleeping. I don’t know what would happen if an alien overhead saw Moroccans cheering over a team’s win and feeling forlorn about a team’s loss. No doubt, the alien would surely mistake Moroccans for Spaniards.
Strangest and most self-pitying of all is when one hears Moroccans about F.C Barcelona or Real Madrid by making use of “a royal we.” If the Barca team, for instance, wins over Real, a Barca fan usually tells a Real fan that they have beaten them. “Oh, we made it! We won! We beat you,” a Barca Moroccan fan usually tells a Real Moroccan one. And if the other way around turns out to be true, Moroccans tell each other the same thing.
In this regard, Moroccans have in one way or another adopted another nationality and continue to talk of themselves as though they were Spaniards. In reality, only Spaniards should talk in this patriotic manner. Yesterday, I became more certain than ever before that these two Spanish teams had taken Moroccans’ hearts when a cousin of mine wrote in her status on Facebbok, “I’m not in the mood.” When I enquired why, she expressed her pity over her favorite team’s loss. I then realized that many Moroccans have regrettably been alienated, while others are in danger of adopting a more Spanish mentality of football than a Moroccan one.
I am not against the fact that people love one team or another. My point is just that people should distinguish between what is theirs and what belongs to others. I am myself a fan of one these two teams, as well of another one in Italy. I support them and it pleases me when I watch them and see them win. But when they lose, I never lose my temper nor do I feel as sad as if one Moroccan team loses to a foreign team in an international competition. Nor do I ever appropriate these teams as if I were a Spaniard.
Many Moroccans who spend their money and time watching every single Barca or Madrid game, shun our national soccer league and barely, if any, spend their money on buying a ticket to attend a game, thus, supporting their local teams financially. Yet, those who are blindly in love with these teams, tend to forget that one of the main reasons why these teams are grand, is that because Spaniards have a culture of going every Saturday or Sunday to a stadium and they pay their tickets, because by paying their tickets they support their team and contribute to their financial stability.
Some may contend that our national soccer league is monotonous and worthless. This assertion is true to some extent. But if we start going to our stadiums every weekend in order to support our teams, both morally and financially, we will eventually contribute to the stability of our national teams. This in turn, would allow them more possibilities to improve the playing conditions of their players, recruit more talented players and make long term strategies to reach higher levels.
It is time that Moroccans started rethinking their unbridled love for foreign teams and started showing some support for their local teams in the same manner as Spaniards do. Only this way, we can dream of having one day in the future a renowned soccer team that would make us all proud and raise our country’s flag.
Omar Bihmidine is high school teacher of English. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and articles, many of which have been published in Sous Pens magazine, in the ALC magazine in Agadir, and in the late Casablanca analyst newspaper.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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