Morocco's Academy that churns out superstars – Capital Sports
RABAT, Morocco, Feb 11 – Morocco became the first Africa country to reach the semi-finals of a FIFA World Cup during the 2022 edition in Qatar.
The Atlas Lions- as they are amiably referred to in football circles- surpassed previous records set by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in 1990, Senegal’s Lions of Teranga in 2002 and the Black Star of Ghana when they reached the quarterfinals.
Rightly so, there is no gainsaying that the three “African Lions” (Morocco, Senegal and Cameroon) have ruled the roost on the continent and savored success in the days of yore.
But the million-dollar question as Africa seeks to achieve the fairy tale feat of lifting the coveted World Cup trophy is-will the continent keep up with the unique approach to spur youth development?
Despite their semifinal status, Moroccans are not giving up their dream as yet, if the infrastructure in youth development is anything to go by!
In Morocco, the development strategy of acquiring as much young talent and then sending the said talent overseas for professional duty continues to generate a steady stream of players in the lucrative European and Asian markets.
Abdelouahed Rahab Essoulami, the President of the Club Rahal De Football in Casablanca, Morocco remarks that this unique approach to youth development helps the system churn out players of national and international repute.
The facility at Club Rahal De Football is private owned but Government of Morocco only supports in kind by providing them land.
The facility’s primary objective is to support needy children and the success story speaks volumes of what African nations need to adopt going forward.
Achraf Dari, who featured for Morocco at the Qatar World Cup and plays for League 1’s Brest is one of the top players that the academy has produced.
And how is scouting of players executed in the facility? Abdelouahed goes on to explain: “We take children here for free and take them to training in other bigger clubs after grooming them in our facility.”
“In Morocco we need to have four to six of this kind in each city and that’s the only way we will be in a position to be as. It is also good for the African continent. We will produce countless other Messis who will take our challenge in the World Cup to the next level.”
Abdelouahed is also building another structure under construction that will house a complex; a FIFA standard pitch, and three small ones. The new facility will also include indoor arena; tennis, volleyball, basketball courts. The facility will be of free of charge.
The complex is build near a historic Mosque which is the biggest in Africa located near the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
“In Six months, the project will be ready for use and will cost USD 2 million. The complex will also have a dressing room, restaurant, doctors room, terraces, conference room and small media studio as well as 30 rooms for the boys to sleep,” Abdelouahed added.
“We will also have a clubhouse; the school is nearby for the children to study and this is in collaboration with the fedearation of football in Morrocco.”
He expounds in finality: “This is a club, it’s a training venue for excellence and we are in fourth division. Previously, it was a center for formation for poor children. We now have 1000 children from the school and club. Now we have players who play professional football in Morocco and outside Morocco. We also have a player who played in the World Cup.”
-Alex Isaboke is reporting from Rabat, Morocco-