Sport Recorder

Play MAROC And Die !

Sports Recorder
November 8, 2022
By Emeka OBASI

Moroccans are unstoppable in African football. RS Berkane are Super Cup holders as well as Confederation Cup champions. The CAF Champions League trophy is domiciled in Casablanca with Wydad Athletic.

The country won the African Nations Championships (CHAN). The Red Atlas Lions and Lionesses are World Cup bound and the Under 17 Cubs are back from India where they debuted at the FIFA Under 17 Women’s Championships.

The Maroc magic has left Nigeria looking like minnows. The year 2022 has confirmed that in soccer, Nigerians are like slaves, pushed around by their masters from across the Sahara.

It began with the Super Falcons. The perennial African champions were knocked out by the Atlas Lionesses in the last Women’s African Cup of Nations ( WAFCON).

Referee Maria Rivet of Mauritius, did not spare her red card as she sent off the Falcons super force of Rasheedat Ajibade and Halimat Akande. Playing nine against eleven, Nigeria managed to keep scores even until penalty kicks decided.

In continental club competitions, Morocco diminished Nigeria. It began with Confederation Cup debutants, Remo Stars. The well managed Ikenne side earned a 1-1 draw against FAR in Rabat only to slump 1-0 at home in the second leg.

The worst came in the CAF Champions League. Defending champions, WAC walloped Rivers United 6-0 in Casablanca in what has become Nigeria’s worst continental result.

Rivers won the first leg 2-1 in Port Harcourt and the players were promised 40, 000 dollars each by Governor Nyesom Wike if they qualified for the group stage. Casablanca brought catastrophe and they let everyone down.

Kwara United took on cup holders RS Berkane in the Confederation Cup. A 3-1 advantage in Lagos disappeared in the second leg. The Ilorin side lost 2-0.

This is too much to bear but there is nothing Nigeria can do about it. The Moroccans will continue to dominate as long as changes are not made.

Football has gone digital in Morocco. King Mohammed VI is pushing his country further up the ladder. There is a magnificent Football Academy named after him around Rabat. It looks like something out of Africa, with a Five-Star hotel and other modern facilities.

Religion does not hinder anyone. Girls and boys are into sports and getting results. Money has been pumped into soccer and the best brains are managing the game.

Mouad Hajji had to abandon his job of General Secretary of CAF and head back home to be part of the Maroc Magic.

This reminds me of Chief Jerry Enyeazu, who was caused to leave his job as Director General, National Sports Commission (NSC) in 1976. He became Director of Sports in Imo.

Governor Ndubuisi Kanu had to personally write Enyeazu a letter begging him to come and serve in his new state.

Enyeazu performed magic. He founded two soccer clubs, Spartans ( same as Iwuanyanwu National, Heartland) and Enyimba.

Enyimba became African champions in 2003 and again in 2004. The Elephants are the most successful Nigerian football team. Iwuanyanwu emerged as the first team to represent the country three times consecutively in the CAF Champions League.

Grasshoppers Handball club also became African champions. The same Enyeazu founded Enugu Rangers in 1970. They won the African Winners Cup in 1977 and remain the only club to win the Challenge Cup thrice consecutively.

Mouad Hajji is the Enyeazu of Morocco and with the support of King Mohammed and Football Federation chairman, Fouzi Lekjaa, things have moved up.

Nigeria can only remember the good times of yore when Green Eagles beat the Red Atlas Lions in the semifinals of the African Nations Cup, Lagos ’80.

The Eagles also thrashed the Lions in the same competition in 2000. Stationery Stores stopped defending champions WAC in 1993, Heartland stopped FAR in 2009 and Enyimba were better than Raja in 2011.

That past also produced some form of Maroc Magic. The Lions were the first to beat Eagles twice in the same African Nations Cup Championships.

At Ethiopia ’76, the Moroccans won 3-1 in Dire Dawa and again in Addis Ababa, they bagged a 2-1 victory.

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