Arab world supports Morocco in the game against Portugal – Sports
The Moroccan team is the only representative of the Arab world (and the African continent) still competing in this Football World Cup. The Moroccans are, for the first time in their history, in the quarterfinals and will dispute Portugal for the third time in duels between these two nations, next Saturday when it is 15:00 in Lisbon.
“Morocco is like Algeria! I hope they go far,” says Algerian Omar Boubaker, a 50-year-old merchant from Oran, who traveled to Doha to watch the first soccer World Cup held in the Arab world.
The extremely tense relations between Rabat and Algiers did not stop the Algerians, as well as many Arab guests, from celebrating Morocco’s victory against Spain, which took the Moroccan team to the quarter-finals, a feat never achieved by a team from the region.
“Politics is for politicians”, says Boubaker, who hopes to see Morocco win the Cup. “Anything is possible!”, he guaranteed, while the press in his country spoke of the success of the neighboring nation.
Located in the extreme west of the Arab world, Morocco is often seen as a country apart in the region, with a particular culture and a dialect considered difficult. Even so, the Lions of the Atlas have been attracting new fans from Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and the Gulf countries.
As the game against Portugal approaches, the red flag with a green star flies across the city of Doha, while Qatar can’t stop congratulating itself on hosting a World Cup in the name of all Arabs.
The “Arab Dream”
The winning goal by Achraf Hakimi’s team caused enormous emotion from Idleb (in Syria) to Sanaa (in Yemen), passing through Beirut (Lebanon) and Baghdad (in Iraq), some moments of great instability caused by bloody conflicts, economic stagnation and where good news is scarce.
Moroccan student Usama Qablani, who stayed alone from Paris to support the Lions, says he has left his loneliness behind thanks to the “Arab unity” around the team, with “the impression of being in Casablanca, or Rabat”.
“The climate that unites the Arabs here is unique and unprecedented”, celebrates the 26-year-old, a red belt in the national team, while a fan from Jordan applauds: “We’re going to win! We’re going to win!”.
At Souq Waqif, one of the most frequented places by shoppers in Doha, Moroccan flags and scarves sell like hotcakes, according to sellers. Among the customers, Mohi Khaled, dressed in red and green, is trying to buy tickets for the game against Portugal.
“Morocco reflects a beautiful Arab dream that makes us all happy,” says a 16-year-old Egyptian teenager, in front of a sweater shop and flags of various sweaters.
“It seems that the whole world is with us”, celebrates Aicha, a 60-year-old Moroccan woman who did not want to reveal her last name, while having dinner in a Lebanese restaurant.