Moroccan women at the gates of heroism

After failing to qualify, Morocco claimed the first victory in their history in the final phase of the Women’s World Cup, which runs until August 20 in Australia and New Zealand. On Sunday, July 30, in Adelaide, striker Ibtisama Djraidi, who plays for Al-Ahli (Saudi Arabia), allowed her team to beat South Korea (1-0) and maintain all chances of qualifying for the round of 16. He will have to win against Colombia on Thursday. The team that dominates Group H with six points and created a sensation by crushing one of the competition’s favorites Germany (2-1) on the second day.

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“Atlas Lionesses”, who are participating in the World Cup for the first time, had experienced a heavy defeat (0-6) against the Germans, participating in the competition on July 24. “It was difficult for them to deal with the pressure and emotions. We must not forget that Morocco is the first team from the Arab world to participate in the World Cup, recalls Zayneb Amine Zouali, president of Tihad Athletic Sport, the oldest women’s club in the kingdom.. We saw that 6-0, they hadn’t accepted it. »

Rapid progress

The Atlas Lions, whose workforce consists of ten Moroccan-born players and thirteen representatives from twelve countries, have nevertheless emerged as one of Africa’s best squads. Zayneb Amine Zouali has witnessed the rapid progress of Moroccan women in recent years: “The arrival of the Frenchman Reinald Pedros, who coached the Lyon Olympique women’s team for several years, which is one of the best in the world, was important. He had been selected by the president of the federation, Fouzi Lekyaa, to qualify for the World Cup. »

Women’s football clearly has the political will to thrive, which was not evident in a country where girls are not always welcome to play sports., adds Abdeslam Ouadou, former player of the Moroccan national team. The result: The Moroccan championship is now one of the few in Africa to enjoy professional status. An event that has convinced some players to stay in their country, such as goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi or symbolic captain Ghizlane Chebbake, both of whom have a contract with AS FAR in Rabat, the most successful club in the country. At the same time, more and more young girls joined amateur clubs.

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Speaking of supporters, more and more of them are following the women’s selection, the 2022 African runners-up matches at home during the African Cup of Nations (CAN). Despite the time difference, the World cheers. “As we approach the match against Colombia, we feel a certain excitement and that people will be proud of their selection, even in the event of elimination.”confirms Nassim El Kerf, journalist at Desk.

Georgie Collins

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