Yesterday the people of Fez had a major sporting win to celebrate - and celebrate they did. The event was the final of the African Super Cup being held in the Rades Stadium in Tunisia between Esperance of Tunisia and MAS - the Maghreb Association of Fez. MAS won in a penalty shootout, 4 - 3. It was a sweet victory for the team from Fez as the Esperence coach, Nabil Maaloul, had been boasting "We proved our superiority over the continent this year. No African team can beat us" Sorry Nabil.
Samir Bennis from Morocco World News reports on the match and some of the issues creating controversy in the world of Moroccan football.
|MAS celebrates in Tunisia|
The Maghreb Association of Fez (MAS) won, on Saturday in Rades Stadium in Tunisia, the African Super Cup after it defeated Esperance of Tunisia on penalty shootouts (4-3).
The final score of the game was 1-1. MAS took the initiative early in the game, when Hamza Bourezzouk scored the first goal for his team at the 20th minute.
After the goal and throughout the game, MAS players dominated the midfield and prevented the Esperance players from developing their game.
MAS held on to its advantage throughout the game until the additional time when Bin Chemam scored the equalizer for the Tunisians. The goal came at the 100 minute.
This the second time that a Moroccan team wins the African Super Cup, after Rajae of Casablanca won the title in 2000. This is also the first time that the winner of the African Cup of Confederation won the Super Cup over the winner of the Champions’ League.
This is the second title that MAS won in less than three months after the Throne Cup in early November and the African Confederation Cup two weeks later. In two of them, Morocco’s best team for the last 2 years won through penalty shootouts.
The Super Cup is an annual football match organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), between winners of the previous season’s CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup competitions.
Maghreb of Fez is winner of the 2011 CAF Confederation Cup and Espérance ST had won the CAF Champions League.
This victory comes amid a heated controversy in Morocco stirred by Morocco’s national coach, Eric Gerets, who made disgraceful statements to the press early this week where he belittled Moroccan coaches. In a interview given to the daily newspaper Aujourd’hui le Maroc, he dared to criticize them and say that a Moroccan coach had never achieved anything meaningful with Morocco’s national team.
This victory won by a team managed by national coach comes timely and should push Gerets to reconsider his statements and present an official apology to all Moroccans.
This victory comes three weeks after the humiliating elimination of Morocco in the first round of the African Cup of Nations, which was in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea from January 22 to February 12.
While being considered by most observers as the frontrunner for the Cup, Morocco lost its first match in the competition to Tunisia (2-1), and its second match to Gabon (3-2). The disgraceful performance by the Moroccan team was blamed on the arrogance of Eric Gerets, his bad coaching during the matches and his decision to call up players who were not ready for that continental competition.
First published in Morocco World News and reprinted on The View from Fez with permission..