Morocco's World Cup success boosts academy that gave players a start

ONEINNEWS.COM - At a soccer academy near Rabat, 100 young Moroccans hope to emulate the success of alumni who took the national team to a W...



ONEINNEWS.COM
- At a soccer academy near Rabat, 100 young Moroccans hope to emulate the success of alumni who took the national team to a World Cup semi-final and will play in a third-place game on Saturday.

Morocco spent $13 million to build the Mohammed VI Football Academy in 2010 when the kingdom's soccer scene was in the doldrums, lagging behind African counterparts after having failed to reach the World Cup since 1998.

While many of the triumphant African Lions squad grew up abroad, four of those who were born in Morocco trained as youngsters at the nation's principal academy, which brings in talent from across the country.

"Skill has always existed in Morocco, but proper training of talents at a younger age was lacking," said the academy's Tarik El Khazri who coached Youssef En-Nesyri, scorer of Morocco's winning headed goal in their quarter-final defeat of Spain.

"We have players from across Morocco and from different social groups ... talent is the main criteria."

The three other national team players who studied and trained at the academy are Azzedine Ounahi, Nayef Aguerd and Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti.

The academy stretches over 17 hectares and has its own boarding house, restaurant, clinic, entertainment hall, swimming pool and classrooms, as well as nine pitches including a covered one.

The curriculum combines training on the pitch with classroom classes. Most students leave the academy with a bachelor’s degree.

Some 90 per cent of graduates get jobs as soccer players, said Belmahdi Abdellatif, another coach, and most big Moroccan teams contain players who started out at the academy.

Others have gone to play in Europe.

Meanwhile, Moroccan soccer is on the up, with its clubs winning all three pan-African tournaments this year.

"After the successful participation of the Moroccan national team, we are flooded with applications," said Khazri.

"Players and staff are very proud to see former graduates contributing to the prowess of the national team."

Source: CNA 


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ONEinNews.com : Morocco's World Cup success boosts academy that gave players a start
Morocco's World Cup success boosts academy that gave players a start
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