Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Morocco’s footballers raise huge hopes

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A Morocco fan cheers on the streets of Milan after his country’s victory over Spain.

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Samuel Schumacherforeign reporter

Quiz question: What do Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (63) and Iraqi militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr (48) have in common? Definitely not much. But they agree on one point: both men have come out as fans of the Moroccan national football team. After the victory of the “Atlas Löwen” against the former colonial and current soccer power Spain, the Israeli Gantz congratulated “our Arab friends”. The Iraqi al-Sadr even saw new “hope for the Arab victory” in the surprising football result.

From Cairo to Casablanca, from Yemen to the Gulf, people erupted in cheers. Eleven footballers from the North African kingdom have sent positive uproar throughout the Arab world (although 80 per cent of Moroccans are Berbers). In the streets of the Palestinian city of Nablus, people are already jokingly saying that global joy over Morocco’s victory will end the Middle East conflict. And in Cairo, the city’s tallest building shines in Morocco’s colors.

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