Morocco's experience in the World Cup ended, and in fact, we feel that the use of a word like "ended" does not suggest what actually happened. What happened is that only one chapter of it ended, and a new chapter began.
The most important thing is that the uniqueness of the experience makes it worth delving into its details, and of course there are many stories worth researching behind.
The majority did not see Sofiane Amrabat as that exceptional player, and the name Ezzedine Onahi was mentioned only a little, and the majority did not imagine that evoking the story of Hakim Ziyech with drugs in his childhood and his refusal to represent the Netherlands national team would raise all these feelings despite his repeated mention before, because, of course, No one expected that Morocco would arrive here under the leadership of its sons.
Here, as soon as the experiment ended, we wanted to give its heroes another dimension, and so that their names would not be quickly forgotten in the face of the desire to search for everything new. We felt that we needed to document what Walid Regraki and his players did, because we finally have a model that all the dreamers among us can look at. well before they embark on their dream.
Morocco or the Netherlands?
Hakim Ziyech (Getty Images)
It is no secret to many that Dutch football legend Marco van Basten has accused star Hakim Ziyech of making a "naive decision" when he chose to represent the Moroccan national team, despite having Dutch citizenship and playing for the youth teams of the mills.
However, Ziyash eventually chose to represent his home country, after a journey in which drugs almost ruined his life, as a result of the trauma of his father's death in his childhood.
Of course, we like those endings, for Morocco to overtake Spain and Portugal and reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, while the Netherlands are deposited in the quarter-finals, and perhaps these endings open new horizons for us to talk about other “naive” from Van Basten’s point of view, those who might have won the World Cup The same with the Netherlands, they will not get those feelings that they had during the dream of Morocco in the World Cup in Qatar.
One of these was Sofiane Amrabat, the man who caught everyone's attention as the best pivotal player in the World Cup from the point of view of many. He is the younger brother of Noureddine Amrabat, who introduced him to the world in a video clip dating back to 2007, when Sofiane was only 11 years old. But his older brother saw in him what the world saw 15 years later, the difference being that he saw it from day one.
Sufyan started his football career at the Dutch Dzidvukhus Academy in the municipality of Hosen where he was born, then the Utrecht team, and played for Feyenoord and Club Brugge before moving to Hellas Verona in the Italian first division.
Before that, Sofiane Amrabat was getting the attention of the Moroccan Federation officials, who were trying to persuade him to play in the shirt of the first Atlas Lions team.
The player had represented the Netherlands under-15 national team on 4 occasions, and also played for Morocco under-17 and Morocco under-23, but he needed some time to choose between representing Morocco or the Netherlands.
At that time, Fawzi Lakjaa, the president of the Moroccan Federation, intervened and spoke with his older brother, Noureddine Amrabat, to persuade Sofiane to represent the first Moroccan national team, after he had refused the invitation of the former coach of the Atlas Lions, Hervé Renard, before that.
He was invited to attend Morocco's match against Gabon in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, and seeing this tumultuous atmosphere and Moroccan enthusiasm, Sofiane chose to follow his heart and represent his ancestral homeland, instead of his second country, the Netherlands, as he described it.
How did the "Amrabat" start?
Sufyan Amrabat (Reuters)
Sofiane Amrabat’s transfer to Fiorentina in 2020 had a major role in the player’s transformation into that version that appeared in the World Cup. Sofiane definitely had talent from day one, but he needed to deal with a coach like Vincenzo Italiano in order to move to that stage he reached. But step by step, without anyone noticing it.
During our interview with him, the young Moroccan coach, Zaid Shaqiri, explained that Amrabat had suffered many problems previously, including many mistakes in passing when he was playing as a lone anchor, but unlike what was the situation in Verona, playing in the middle of a stadium has two pillars with vertical paths, where the back is closer to Midfielder, he allows alternations between the lines, so the passing process is not long range.
Unlike playing alone, where the most frequent mistakes from Soufiane were related to the width of the field, or passing through the opponent’s midfielder to the fellow winger, or to the advanced fullback, Amrabat’s level improved a lot with Italiano even in breaking lines, after the coach understood more that Amrabat is not a one-touch player Or both, but his strength lies in running the ball for meters and then passing it. Perhaps the matter is defective in that he allows the opponent to organize and return to his places, but there is no solution but to accept things with their advantages and disadvantages.
These capabilities and experiences that he has accumulated over the years, with the high spirit possessed by any player who is fully aware of the value of the World Cup, and the role of coach Walid Rakraki in creating a defensive system and a midfield based on a basic engine, which is the fulcrum player;
All of these things helped Amrabat to appear in this way in the World Cup in Qatar. Nothing happens by chance at all in such stories, right?
Oh my God.. Where did this boy come from?!
Ezzedine Onahi (Anatolia)
These were the words of Spain's coach, Luis Enrique, after Morocco's success in eliminating his team from the World Cup. He did not know the name of Ezzedine Onahi, so he only referred to him as "the number 8 player that Morocco owns", and he could not hide his admiration for him, who reached The extent of astonishment, to express that with the words: "Oh my God... where did this boy come from? He's really cool."
Onahi's tender with Morocco in the World Cup was fantastic.
A player with a personality that precedes his years and experience, as if he plays the World Cup every day under his house, knows its atmosphere as he knew the atmosphere of street football, he has something from Iniesta, something of the imaginary ability to control the midfield and tame the ball for the benefit of the system, a player with rare intelligence and sensory perception that precedes his age, It was not just a breakthrough, but the birth of a talent that would impose itself on world football for years.
In fact, Onahi's joining the Moroccan national team came by chance, but it was a coincidence that carried a lot for him and the Lions, as he was a colleague in his team, Angers, the French, his compatriot Sofiane Boufal, who moved to the French club one year before him, to be a focal point for the rising star without knowing, as if The story is born from those details that no one expects sometimes.
The former coach of the Moroccan national team, Wahid Halilhodzic, went to follow Boufal in one of the matches of his team, Angers, but surprisingly, Onahi managed to catch the attention of the Bosnian coach with his distinguished performance, to surprise everyone by including him in the list of the “Atlas Lions” for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. The decision of the Bosnian coach was met with great criticism, and the reason In that, Onahi was a young man that no one knew, and he had no international experience, but Khalilozich insisted on including him, and relying on him mainly in the first match of the tournament against Ghana.
Onahi became the talk of everyone after the match that brought together Morocco and Congo, and led the Moroccans to the World Cup Qatar 2022 with a big victory by four, in a match in which he was the first star, and his credentials were officially presented as one of the basic pieces of the team, to move after that to a stage in which he became the focus of everyone’s bet, but of course They did not expect that the bid would reach that far after only one year of refusing to be with the national team list.
Yassin Bono (Anatolia)
The following story is of a family that immigrated to Canada, then returned to Morocco, and their young son joined Wydad Casablanca Club, and graduated in its Sunni categories until he became the first team goalkeeper. But Yassin Bono's ambitions exceeded that, to deserve all the praise he received in the World Cup, whether because of the World Cup itself, or for his entire work.
During two seasons with the first team in Wydad, Bono caught the attention of several Spanish and French clubs, so that Spanish Atletico Madrid succeeded in obtaining his card in 2012 to become a goalkeeper for the Atletico Madrid “B” team competing in the Spanish second division, and he begins his journey with professionalism, and his story of patience. its first chapters, before they mean brilliance the later chapters.
In 2014, Bono succeeded in entering the list of the first team in Atletico Madrid after his continued brilliance, but the Rojiblancos contract with Slovenian Jan Oblak caused Bono to leave on loan to Real Zaragoza for two seasons, before he left for Girona on loan with the option to buy, so that he could show his capabilities against Senior Spanish League.
To complete the cinematic story, Girona was relegated to the second division, but Seville completed Bono's loan series in 2019 and also signed him on loan to be a substitute goalkeeper for the team in the European Cup and League matches.
An alternative but he will have the opportunity, so why not take advantage of it?
This is exactly how Bono decided, and with the injury of the main goalkeeper at the time, Thomas Vaslik, Bono became essential in the second half of the season, to begin the journey of brilliance match after match, and to become one of the best La Liga goalkeepers ever.
The journey of patience was crowned with many successes in the Seville shirt, but nothing like reaching the World Cup semi-finals as the first Arab and African team to achieve this achievement, and nothing like saving two penalty kicks in the World Cup final price and causing Spain to be excluded.
However, it must be remembered that this story did not just begin, but rather began when Bono decided to embark on an unclear experience with professionalism, and not be satisfied with local success as many do.
The beautiful thing about the story of Morocco is that history was written before our eyes, and we became witnesses to it, and we are the ones who will tell it to future generations, reminding them that the one who achieved his dream was someone who was not afraid of not achieving it, but rather had the courage to challenge everyone, knowing inside him that life is not rosy, and that the downfall is It was possible, but he left himself with the dream until he saw it as a reality, and so the first chapter of the story of the Moroccans ended, which we agreed that its other chapters will start with the end of the World Cup, where the inspection behind the scenes, and the search inside the achievement, to enjoy learning about what happened in the shadows, being the one that led to the miracle that happened under the spotlight.
1- Hakim Ziyech.. a new beginning with the national team, which he "chose with his heart."
2- Hakim Ziyech reveals the secrets of his childhood.. I used drugs!
3 - A picture that has become history.. The story of the first appearance of the "child" Sufyan Amrabat 15 years ago
4 – Neither Barcelona nor Atletico .. This is what Sofiane Amrabat prefers
5 - From Hawzen to Al-Thumama... the story of the rise of Sufyan Amrabat in Qatar 2022
6 - Morocco started with a 5-4-1 system that cost them exit from the World Cup semi-finals - The Athletic
7- How did the young Moroccan coach Zaid Shaqiri see the brilliance of Sofiane Amrabat?
8 - Luis Enrique praises Ezzedine Onahi
9 - the previous source
10- Yassine Bounou presents the World Cup for History – ESPN
11 - Yassin Bounou - a success story
12 - The story of the Moroccan goalkeeper Yassin Bono