By Abdelmjid Seghir
By Abdelmjid Seghir
Morocco World News
Larache, Morocco, May 18, 2012
On April 26th, my fellow teacher and writer Mr. Omar Bihmidine published an article tackling a controversial issue that is of considerable significance to me; football –soccer- and why Moroccans love it.
What catches one’s attention in Mr. Bihmidine’s article is his way of literally attacking Spanish football fans in Morocco. Mr. Bihmidine sees that Moroccan enthusiasm and fanaticism for Spanish football is unjustified; he even states that he would mistake Moroccans for Spaniards!
As a matter of fact, football is an art, and to be able to come to a better understanding of it and of what moves its fans, one must be one of them. Therefore, what I think is not appropriate with Mr. Bihmidine’s analysis is that he has an outsider’s look at a phenomenon which demands an insider’s investigation.
Provided that football is an art, I don’t really see any harm in people discussing its tactics. Therefore, what a team’s strategy should be, what a coach should and shouldn’t do, which player should play and which one should be kept on the bench, in addition to expressing worry about players’ injuries become defensible acts by fans, and is not “mind colonization” as Mr. Bihmidine puts it. I don’t see any difference between two football fans doing this and two intellectuals discussing a Picasso masterpiece or a Shakespearean play.
Mr. Bihmidine posed many other inquiries of which I’ll try to address the following; why not Moroccan football?
The difficulty of answering this question lingers in its very easiness. There are more reasons that explain why people prefer Spanish football rather than Moroccan than I can count. First, the Spanish Liga is a first class football show, the quality of play is unmatched and the rivalry between the teams is breathtaking. Second, a league that features players of a very high caliber such as Messi and Ronaldo would undoubtedly charm any football fan. These players are real artists who succeed in making football fans excited, thanks to the show they offer more than once a week.
The Moroccan Botola, however, -even in its professional version- cannot be compared to the Spanish Liga at any level. The quality of play, the stadiums as well as the level of organization are not the same, and therefore, can never offer the same level of excitement and powerful struggle for the title.
Indeed, the supporters of football have a very crucial role for any team. The fans are what makes great teams great. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Moroccan teams would become like their Spanish counterparts simply from the support of their fans. The reason behind my claim is that there is a whole industry behind football in Spain and Europe. In this regard, it is enough to take a look at any great football team’s website to see that those teams are also companies that produce, sell and purchase. Also, these teams are backed up by companies that pay millions of euros for sponsorship. Moreover, the Spanish Liga, as well as most European football leagues, is run by real professionals who know what it takes for a football league to appeal to millions of people worldwide.
Furthermore, European football is known for its great organization and high levels of security; whereas, groups of teenagers destroy and even kill in scenes of utmost atrocity in some Moroccan as well as Arab stadiums. This accentuates the urgency to answer the question: “Who would like to go to a Moroccan stadium after the last violent events?”… I wouldn’t.
Non- fans of football might get overwhelmed that we, sometimes, find it difficult to understand their behavior. However, instead of bashing them because of something they enjoy and which means a lot to them, we should consider their contexts, and how they ended up in that situation.
In this regard, I find it necessary to take a look at our social environment, before we judge people. I think that most of the people who permanently sit in cafés, starring religiously at the cafes’ TV sets, are either unemployed or bored to death with their lives.
Also, not everybody can afford to go to a gym or take-up just any other interesting hobby, which seems to be an additional reason for the phenomenon.
I might not have included all the important reasons why Moroccans love football in general and the Spanish Liga in particular. However, I am convinced that a lot of people will agree with me in considering football an art that lightens up the days of our lives, and gives us a space to get over the daily routine.
LONG LIVE FOOTBALL!
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
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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