“When you walk through the storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone”
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein
In 1945, American musical theatre writers and composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein introduced their world class show tune “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in their stunning musical ceremony Carousel, and unintentionally began a Liverpool tradition of love and belonging.
Since the mid-sixties, the beautiful and inspiring lyrics of this song have permanently settled in the hearts and the minds of Liverpool football fans. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was first sung to bring comfort and relief in a dramatic theatrical scene. Gradually the song was integrated into the world of football until it finally became the official opening of the musical ceremony in the Anfield football stadium; the home of Liverpool Football Club.
Not uncommon in Morocco I fell in love with football at a very young age; I was taken by the chanting crowds and moments of absolute excitement and entertainment. I was fascinated the first time I learned of this English tradition. In awe of significance and value I began to explore a new dimension in the world of football; a dimension reaching beyond the practicalities and technicalities of sport and into arenas of culture and tradition. Today this fantasy takes me to a city I call home, to a team I love and to a crowd that continues to encourage and inspire me.
From “Wal KAC Wal KAC Ya Moulana” of the early sixties to the current “Manassmah Fik” (I will never let you down), Kenitra Athletic Club fans whom we proudly refer to as Helala Boys have honored their team and their city with songs and slogans reflecting their pride. Kenitra Athletic Club, a club of Morocco’s top soccer league, was founded in 1938 as the second oldest club founded by Moroccans during the French Protectorate. This club has been unique in its history, achievement and its faithful fans. As it is known in Moroccan football, KAC has the fifth best record in Moroccan football league with four titles; 1960, 1973, 1980 and 1981 and two runner-ups; 1979 and 1985. These seasons were magical and of remarkable significance to the people of the city of Kenitra, the region and the thousands of this club’s fans in Morocco.
In 1961 ‘Les Verst’ won ‘La Coupe du Trône’, then in 1969, 1976 and 1991 they became finalists. In 1983 they were CAF Champions League’s quarter-finalist, then the Arab champions League’s runner-up for the 1984 season. Today, these dates manifest as snapshots in a long journey of great achievement. High standards of sport professionalism, remarkable talents and skills as well as magnificent support and commitment mark this team’s unique tradition in Moroccan football continuing to bring its supporters joy and honor.
Success brings pride and honor as do winning scores. Kenitra Athletic Club’s fans choose to celebrate their team in their own way. Be it a victory or a huge loss, its fans always express the same amount of love and attachment. Of course this is what we call the true spirit of sport. On March 19th, 2014, KAC lost to Raja Athletic Club of Casablanca five to nothing; a score tragic enough to disappoint and embarrass the team and its fans. However, what happened despite the loss was awe-inspiring. An approximate two thousand fans refused to leave Casablanca’s stadium Mohamed V until they applauded, saluted and embraced both the players and the staff; an effort accompanied by chants and songs. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is uncommon, however, it is the Helala Boys’ signature.
Be it in the Municipal stadium of Kenitra, home of Kenitra Athletic club, or in Rabat, Casablanca, Fez, Tangier or Agar; the same display of unconditional love continues to bind Kenitra to these great fans we call Helala Boys. With their highly orchestrated songs and energetic slogans, Helala boys continue to inspire and lead thousands of fans in their support of their beloved team Kenitra Athletic Club.
In 2006, the Helala Boys formed an official group under the acronym “HB 07” and began to color their presence in the fields with their beautiful banners and animations. An Ultra gradually rose on the horizon bringing its own unique touch to a historically- privileged team. Their first contribution dates back to September 23rd, 2007 at Stade Père-Jégo in Casablanca where few hundred fans took the tradition of supporting to a new level; a level where celebration neither starts with a kick-off nor ends at a referee’s whistle.
These fans are known by their loyalty and unconditional love. In their belief, the 90 minute football game is a moment of reflection and a demonstration of the enduring emotional bond between a club and thousands of people. For these boys, a game of football is a live musical show and a theatrical scene. This explains the beauty and creativity of the Helala Boys’ encaustics the murals of old city Kenitra. This also explains the musicality present in their rhythmical lyrics.
Edited by Sahar Kian
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