Agadir – Moussa Ndao, a Senegalese former professional footballer who currently coaches a Moroccan club, was the victim of racist remarks during a game between Sports Association of Sale and Racing de Casablanca, on Saturday, February 6.
Ndao was on the receiving end of the racist outbursts in his capacity as the coach of AS Sale. The incident occurred during the match between his club and Racing de Casablanca, on the 9th day of the second division of Botola Pro Inwi.
Approximately 20 minutes into the match, held at the Père Jego Stadium, a former player and current employee at the stadium made racist comments while addressing Ndao. A press release from Racing de Casablanca has acknowledged and apologized for the incident. But the statement did not reveal the identity of the individual who made the comments.
The press release noted, however, that Racing de Casablanca’s management held an “urgent meeting by videoconference” to take appropriate decisions regarding the Ndao case and prevent similar events in the future. The racist remarks directed at Ndao “are not worthy of Moroccan society,” the Moroccan club said.
Speaking to local media, Ndao expressed his disappointment with the incident. “Everyone heard the racist remarks he made about me. It is unacceptable,” noted the Senegalese coach.
Ndao added, “I protested strongly. My players came to tell me that they wanted to leave the field. I retained them. This kind of rascal should not even enter a stadium, especially since the match took place behind closed doors.”
Meanwhile, Morocco’s footballing authorities have also spoken out against the incident, pledging to take necessary actions to purge racism from Moroccan football. Ndao was “the victim of insults which are unrelated to the principles of sportsmanship which should prevail in football matches” said a press release by the Moroccan National Professional Football League.
The league announced their intent “to submit the reports of the delegate and the match referee to the ethics commission” of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, so they could “take the appropriate measures against the person responsible for this immoral act.”
Morocco’s pan-Africanism and sub-Saharan migrants
While King Mohammed’s perceptibly sincere interest in Africa may have decisively reconciled Morocco with its Africanness, many observers believe that the North African country still has a relatively long distance to travel on the anti-racism path.
Is Morocco’s “professed pan-Africanism slightly overblown by both Moroccan and some sub-Sub Saharan political leaders, in glaring disregard for reports of sub-Saharan mistreatment?” MWN’s Tamba Francois Koundouno asked in a 2019 article.
In response, some Moroccan observers have said that, while Morocco has irrefutably made strides in embracing its Africannes, the Ndao incident is a reminder that “anti-Black racism,” overt or subtle, is still part of Moroccan culture.
“Morocco is getting involved in its continent, but Moroccans — or at least a considerable part of them — should renounce their racist legacy,” Moroccan journalist Aziz Boucetta wrote in the aftermath of the Ndao incident.
He added, “ ‘Morocco in Africa’ is not only about the economy or geopolitics, it is first and foremost about human relations. It will take one or two generations, but we have to start, and to start, our political leaders have to be really convinced. But are they really?”