By Rachid Acim
By Rachid Acim
Beni Mellal, Morocco – The very famous professional football club, F.C Barcelona led by its football legend Lionel Messi, has scheduled many friendly football matches across the globe. One football match of utmost importance to us as Moroccans is going to be played against a squad of players from the Raja team in the Grande Stade de Ibn Battouta in Tangier.
The stadium, which hosted the 2011 Trophée des champions, has a capacity of 45,000 people. It will historicize a crucial instance for football playing as well as stereotyping.
None can deny that the friendly match will be a great opportunity for our football players to test out their football skills while playing face-to-face with these football giants who conquered the realm of football and started to teach the world both in theory and practice about it.
But as observers, we are no longer interested in the result of the match. For sure, the Moroccan football youngsters are so capable of altering the scale at any moment. They are at home and they can bring back the glory of Mexico1986 and thereby make fun of Messi or Xavi.
On the other hand, the friendly match will be a grand festivity for the Moroccan spectators to closely enjoy some of the techniques used by Messi and his teammates. To some Moroccans, the football match will be a mere waste of time; it has lost its value anyway, before it started
Initially, we firmly believed that sports, and football in particular, could bring people very close to each other. That’s a mere fantasy. Any football match starts friendly, but it ends sometimes tragically.
Football itself is not about friendship but true enmity. It is about triumph and defeat. Those who dominate the football match will go home happily – full handed. And those who are going to lose will be blamed for bringing shame and dishonor to their country. In sum, they will be insulted and ridiculed by the media.
What will be the reaction if our players could not catch up with the rhythm of the match? I hope they will not surrender and they will continue to do marvels on the green soil of the stadium. Barça after all is not a monster to fear. They are an amalgam of players who do not play consistently sometimes.
The club, in my view, has lost its good reputation since the departure of the coach Pep Guardiola. The Braça players know that they have many fans in Morocco, but to whom the applause should go? It will be stupid and illogical to praise Messi and his fellows in one’s home.
Frankly enough, I will wholeheartedly applaud for the local Rajaoui players; they are playing for the sake of dignity – notwithstanding the triviality of the match. The match is between humans, but while some can show astonishing collaboration, I’m afraid individualism can result in disastrous results.
We must be careful. We must besiege the legend and his fellows and teach them all what it means to be Moroccan. A goal can help eradicate these stereotypical views the Spaniards developed about us many centuries ago.
The Spaniards have lately again had a bad impression of us. This has historical roots as Mr. S. Bennis, a U.N counselor came to argue. “The misunderstanding and mistrust that still prevail in relations between the two peoples [Moroccans & Spanish] are due to image and false stereotypes that each country spread about its adversary to denigrate it, thus, asserting the superiority of its religion over that of its rival.”
Such a view was previously held by J. Shaheen, who tackled stereotypes, prejudice and othering from a cinematographic standpoint in his notable book Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. Mr. Shaheen argued that Hollywood had immense power in depicting certain “others” as innately strange and dangerous. These “others” are villains and foul creatures — they are not like the rest of us.
Football is not safe from this others.
A strange video widely circulating now on Facebook has caught the attention of many Facebook users and subscribers. The video which does not exceed two minutes, portrays Barça football players as kids teasing everything and everyone in their friendly tour worldwide.
Humberg, the second largest city in Germany is delineated as a land of unexpected misfortunes. Tangier, the bride of the North in Morocco wherein the friendly match is going to take place is so ugly. It is, according to the video, a desert full of camel riders, human thirst and disappointment. Paris, the capital of France, is colored in green but it is less promising as Barçelona or even Madrid. Göteborg, the over-populated and industrial city in Sweden is a place for fun and amusement for the players. Bucharest, ‘the Little Paris’ in Romania, is a city of thrill and panic.
Sadly, the video makes us more pessimistic about the friendly football match led by the Barça in Tangier.
You may agree that football is the most popular sport in the world. It can help promote many good values in people such as love, respect and friendship. But if ever the game is politicized, no need of it then.
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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