Rabat- Moroccan football fans were extremely delighted after Raja of Casablanca secured a triumphant win over Monterrey of Mexico team at Agadir stadium.
The Moroccan team reached a milestone by qualifying to the semi-finals for the first time in the Club’s history. This is such a feat considering that it is a prestigious World Cup of football clubs being hosted by Morocco.
What makes the achievement taste even sweeter is that it would be a consolation for the so-many deceptions caused by our national football team, which failed to qualify to next World Cup in Brazil and did so poorly in last African Cup of Nations in South Africa.
It is true Raja’s achievement isn’t the only one Moroccan fans would remember now that 2013 football season is coming to a close. The under 20 and under 17 national teams delivered impressive performances in the tournaments in which they competed, especially the under 17, which won Gold medal in Mediterranean games in Turkey, reached the final of “Jeux de la Francophonie” in France, and came first in Islamic Solidarity Games in Indonesia.
Moroccan football is still oscillating between success and failures, and Morocco has to prove itself as a consistent contender in the sport beloved by Moroccans of all ages. Our national team has seen better days and has become one of the weakest in Africa. This was a result of many factors among them mismanagement by the paradigmatic Royal League of Football under unqualified leadership, thus resulting in their inability to compete with many rising football nations in the continent. Winning a second African Cup of Nations is increasingly a hard-to-achieve goal, particularly that now Morocco is lagging far behind other African teams.
What’s more puzzling is that Morocco is slated to miss the opportunity to win the next African Cup of Nations that it will host in 2015.
One wonders if our officials are aware of the dire situation of Moroccan football and are they in a position to address the anomalies between a fan base and a disheartening performance of the Moroccan football team.
The team needs a coach to prepare for the tournament well in advance. Rachid Taoussi’s status remains unclear, and no indication if he will stick around or another coach will replace him. The absurd elections held by Royal Moroccan Federation of Football which “supposedly” elected a new president under a medley of shouts and violent jabs wasn’t recognized by FIFA for obvious reasons, and the incident only made matters worse.
Such lack of civility by officials of the confederation of football who are supposed to prepare Morocco to compete and entertain among other nations surely upsets fans considering that soccer is the most popular game in Morocco. When a local team achieves an important feat such as the one by Raja, or MAS and FUS’s winning of African Confederation Cup last year and the year before, that makes football aficionados in the country happy and makes them forgive past tribulation.
Historically, Moroccan football teams lacked consistency; this is still a major discussion point as to why this is the case among Moroccan athletes as a whole. There may be factors out there in comparison to other teams in North Africa, such as Egypt and Tunisia, who are consistent and Morocco should look into what makes other clubs and national teams more consistent.
Whether to point the finger or not at people in charge of those teams, we saw how many clubs struggled with debt, lack of funding. For those reasons, Moroccan teams could not hold on to players who moved on to better opportunities with other international clubs. On other occasions many coaches kept changing because club presidents wanted immediate results.
A good illustration of such a situation is the sacking of Mohamed Fakhir, former coach of Raja, few days before the beginning of The Cub World Cup. Fakhir was blamed for not successfully leading the team this season, but we shouldn’t forget he led Raja to win last year’s league and Coupe de Trône. Raja did very well in the Club Word Cup, but the team’s president made a risky decision by firing Mr. Fakhir before the start of the tournament.
On the other hand, Raja’s rival, Wydad of Casablanca continues to spend huge sums of money without realizing a return on its investment. Are they making the right decisions? It remains the case that perhaps they need to invest in a strategy that will put the team on track to start competing and winning. After all, their fans want just that.
Maybe the presidents of the Moroccan clubs should ask themselves why big clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal kept their coaches for many years. If they don’t know the answer, here it is: It’s because the managers of those clubs trust their coaches and believe stability is important for the team and that good results and achievements are the fruit of a long-time strategy.
The same principle applies for the national team which certainly needs stability and a healthy environment for the players to perform better. But our football needs a long term strategy and officials who really know their business. Otherwise, achievements like the one made by Raja would remain an exception and the inconsistencies the norm.
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