On Tuesday, hundreds upon thousands of people from Morocco celebrated the triumphant return of their national soccer team. They had just returned from the World Cup in Qatar. Thus, they ended in a respectable fourth place, exceeding everyone’s greatest expectations. An open-top bus carrying the suit-and-tie-dressed players came into the capital with a heavy police escort. Also, fans packed squares and lined avenues and streets in and around Rabat, igniting flares, waving flags, dancing to the beat of drums, and cheering.
With the swaying people and palm trees as a backdrop, the players and coach Walid Regragui waved. They also blew kisses to their delighted fans and took selfies. The procession route was lined with spectators who, at times, poured out of the streets and into the four-lane highway the bus was traveling on. The vehicle’s speed was reduced as it made its way to the palace of King Mohammed VI. It was where the players would be greeted and invited to “enjoy their great and historic feat.”
Morocco celebrates its World Cup history-makers
As the first African or Arab team to reach the World Cup semifinals, Morocco made history. They were a big success because it was the first Arab World Cup. After beating Belgium, Spain, and Portugal, the team reached the semifinals but lost to France.
They were given a hero’s welcome because of their team’s record-breaking achievement. Reda Ghazi, 27, the owner of a café in Rabat, told The Associated Press that Morocco’s participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup would go down as one of the most entertaining campaigns in the tournament’s history.
“Every Moroccan’s hope was to bring home a trophy, because football is such a huge deal in Morocco.” Most Moroccans were pleased with Morocco’s fourth-place performance, despite the country’s loss to Croatia in the third-place play-off on Saturday. “I still can’t wrap my brain around what happened in this World Cup,” said Amour El Berkaoui, a 23-year-old student. Now that the team has raised the bar so high, nothing short of winning the 2017 African Cup of Nations will do.
The Moroccan squad won over many Arab soccer fans because they saw themselves in the team. Palestinian players celebrated their victories with their families, waving the flag and embracing their young fans. The group was successful in rallying help from all around Africa.
Rabat native Omar Zorgane boasted, “As an African squad, we shattered a number of records and made the whole continent happy.” According to him, “Morocco as a whole will gain a lot from this year’s World Cup,” including more tourism and the possibility of hosting future major international sporting events.