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The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye

Raja Casablanca

16.03.2014 GNF1 2013/2014
Raja Casablanca - Wydad Fes 4:0

Just a few days before our arrival into Morocco, the league fixture was changed. Kawkab Marrakesh, instead of playing home on Friday was supposed to play away on Saturday. We needed to adjust to the new set up and go for another match – it would be regretful to miss out on this opportunity since this is uncertain if we come here again and even so – if football would then still be on the agenda. We chose a match in Casablanca where Raja met one of the two Fes teams - by the way occupying the last place in the league table. Since my wife accompanies me for a football match not that often (4th time so far), I decided to get decent seats, 200 dirham (ca. 20 euros) per piece so that one of the supporters standing behind us at the ticket counter appeared a bit jealous: “you have the best seats in the stadium”. In general, the presence of a white skinned woman evoked a little sensation and one of the security guards in a uniform asked if we are journalists. I frankly denied and mentioned we had come to Casablanca specially to see Raja in action which caused another wave of sensation amongst all security guards standing nearby. Whereas the seats appeared not sensational at all – although in the middle sector on the one hand, yet pretty low on the other one, so that the view upon parts of the pitch was hindered by the substitute bench boxes. So be it – as an experienced football ground hopper I had to live with this inconvenience with pride and dignity!
The first 20 minutes of the game created an impression two more or less equally skilled teams met. And when Lady Boredom was about to be lurking from around the pitch corner, the execution of the visiting team started. It took Raja another 20 minutes to score four times. Honestly, the match story ends here since after the break Wydad apparently decided to prevent from a double digit defeat whilst the hosts tried to imitate Barcelona and set up a contest for the largest possible amount of passes made on the opponents half of the pitch. Sometimes the pass went onto the goalkeeper (who should also have some joy from the participation in the game) - although not forced by the situation – it proves the atmosphere in the team is pretty friendly. Clear leadership belonged to the local playmaker number 5 (Mohsine Moutaoouali) – I reckon he would find his place without any difficulties or stretch in any of the middle ranking teams in major Western European leagues.
Raja fans certainly appeared the biggest attraction of the Sunday evening event. Located classically i.e. behind one of the goals, were divided into two subgroups: half naked to the left and all-greens to the right (the color shade of the latter ones did not create any associations either with UFO or Kermit though). They started their superb cheering performance shortly before the kick off whereas the repertoire, variety of expression forms as well as choreography - occasionally they were walking (dancing?) in both lateral directions – could be appreciated by many a football fan. Given neither relegation nor championship title "risk" Raja is facing, the club can be simply proud of their fans.
A big number of photo-reporters was eye catching which would suggest an equally big number of papers and magazines at least partly dedicated to football in Morocco. It might also be the case, that a “presse” vest plays a role of an entrance pass into the stadium – after all the security guards do not check if somebody has got a camera...
After the match we conveniently left the stadium to go back to the hotel and came to the conclusion that numerous security and police forces are around just on a proforma basis.