Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca finally ended their seven-year title drought when they were crowned league champions on Sunday courtesy of an Abdelilah Hafidi double.
Hafidi, christened Morocco’s Messi, scored with the final kick of the season in the 90th minute as the Green Devils edged FAR Rabat to secure a title that had eluded them since 2013. He had earlier netted the equaliser for Jamal Sellami’s side.
Raja and crosstown rivals Wydad Casablanca went into their last games of the season separated by a single point with Raja needing the last gasp winner to lay their hands on the coveted title – their 12th. Raja will now turn its focus to the Champions League where they play Zamalek in the semi-final next week Sunday.
The Casablanca giants became the first African team to participate in the Club World Cup in the first edition that took place in 2000 in Brazil. The competition allowed them to confront some of the great football teams from around the world, such as Real Madrid.
The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) described the just-ended season as the toughest in over 64 years. “It was certainly the toughest season that Botola clubs have ever experienced throughout history and since the formation of the FRMF in 1956. The reason is obviously the Coronavirus pandemic, which forced the federation to suspend all football activities in the Kingdom for a long time since the 16th of March 2020,” the FRMF said in a statement.
FRMF president Fouzi Lekjaa remained determined to see the league completed despite the Covid-19 challenge that halted football activities in the north African country. “The FRMF, under the leadership of Mr Fouzi Lekjaa remained overly determined to resume and complete national championships – both professional and amateur – as well as women’s football,” it further said.
FRMF halted the Leagues at the end of March and resumed at the end of July under a safe environment to minimise the spread of the deadly pandemic. Morocco was one of the first few African countries to resume its football Leagues after a four month break.