What did you do with the ball.. What did you do with the net?!

The occasion of organizing the FIFA World Cup is a powerful cosmic moment par excellence, in which the language of the world unites and the hearts of the players accelerate to the rhythm of its matches, to hold the breath of fans in and outside the stadiums. in front of television screens in homes and squares.

What sets the current session apart is its hosting for the first time on the soil of an Arab country, the state of Qatar, which has staked on the success of the World Cup to make it the best and highest quality World Cup ever organized so far, and it may be difficult to match in the near future. future, and that was the testimony of everyone led by Gianni Infantino, the president of the International Football Federation “FIFA”.

It is the sixth time in Morocco’s history that its football team is participating in the World Cup. According to “FIFA”, Morocco ranks among the soccer nations whose people have been very fond of soccer since ancient times. The Moroccan national team is the first in the list of Arab national teams in the world ranking list of teams issued by “FIFA”, because until this month it was twenty-first in the world. History also preserves for Morocco in the field of football the names of brilliant players with high skills, whose stars shone high in Africa and Europe, and the names of ancient clubs that mentioned their glory in Al-Rukban.

Morocco is also the first Arab and African country to submit a nomination for the organization of the World Cup in 1994. This was repeated in four attempts, and would have been close if there had not been suspicions of corruption that affected the nomination file for the organization of the World Cup in 2010, whose headlines included tampering with the vote results, according to British reports at the time that said a victory.Morocco to vote before the final results were adjusted.

Today, with greater ambition and determination, Morocco presents its candidacy for the host and organization of the World Cup in 2030 for the fifth time.

In one of the reading books that were prescribed in Morocco in the 1960s and 1970s for high school students, we read excerpts from a poem by the Moroccan poet Abd al-Malik al-Balghith (1904-2010), in which he sings about a football game, in which he says:
About the daughter of wind and Adam / Salwa of Arabs and non-Arabs
Yours in every family / from kings to servants
Euphoria no less than / euphoria of wine and melody
You are in the betting circle/your audience
Likewise, Quriha competed with more than one Moroccan poet in praising football. In other, smaller situations, the satire was aimed at those who like to watch their matches. We also read in verses attributed to Professor Al-Arabi Al-Masari:
Playing ball is not religious / because it has the strongest reason for quarrel
It defiles established chivalry / banishes dignity and serenity
So I didn’t see anything commendable in that, so he went off doing it with Ahmad

The poet Ahmed Al-Jumari (1939/1995) was a supporter of the Al-Ittihad Sports Club Oval team, known as “Al-Tas”. Indeed, his father, Hajj Muhammad Al-Tazniti, was one of the supporters of this ancient team, which was founded by patriots during the colonial period, and among the founders was Professor Abd Al-Rahman Al-Yousifi who was the head of the Moroccan government between 1998 and 2002.

As for the star of the popular singing group “Nass El Ghiwane”, the Arab artist Batma (1948/1996), he was also in his last years a member of the board of this team which belongs to one of the largest and most famous popular neighborhoods in Casablanca, the Mohammedan quarter .

The writer and novelist Idriss Al-Saghir was a football player of the third division Raja Kénitra. Poet Mohamed Benfaa (1936/2001), author of the book “Thorns Without Wards”, played for Kenitra Sports Club (Al-Kaak) as official goalkeeper.

Writer Idriss El-Khoury supported Wydad Athletic Club Casablanca, while writer Bashir Jamkar supported the Youth Star Sports Team in Derb Ghallef, the neighborhood from which this ancient team emerged during the colonial period, and whose founders included members of armed resistance organizations , primarily resistance fighter Mohamed Benhamou El Fawakhry. , who continued to be the head of the club until the day when the intelligence services arrested him and brought a serious indictment against him, so he was the first to carry out the death sentence by firing squad in the first years of independence, and it is said that among the reasons that the resistance fighter What led Benham to this fateful fate was his lack of respect for the heir to the throne. Al-Hassan (later King Hassan II), when the prince attended a match between the royal team (Al-Jaish Club) and the Al-Shabab Casablanca team, Benhamou is said to have scolded a player from his team and possibly slapped him for the player kissed the hand of the heir to the throne.

Following the example of the Russian poet and football player Yevgeny Yevchenko (1932-2017), the writer and poet Ahmed Sabri, one of the most prominent sports journalists and analysts, became famous, “He gave me a peach and he died”, in memory of the resistance fighter. Muhammad Benham Al-Fawakhry. Sabri was known for his football training within the Youth Star Club, Al Hayat Sports Club, along with the Education Men’s Team in Casablanca. He coached first-class Moroccan clubs, the Moroccan Youth National Team and Al-Wahda Club in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Arabia. He was a member of the Royal Moroccan Football Association, and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Arab Football Association.

Like his friend, the writer Muhammad Shukri, the writer Muhammad Zafzaf had little interest in the game of football, except that he never ceased to express his amazement at the hordes of young men who passed before him in dozens and hundreds, as if on their way to the stadium of honor (the ship of Muhammad V .) near his residence in the Maarif district of Casablanca.

Once, in the eighties of the last century, I read to Mohamed Zefzaf a funny news story published by a Moroccan newspaper about the most famous football player of that time, the Argentine legend Diego Maradona. So the owner of “Attempting Life” underestimated the news, fixed his eyes on him and said, blowing smoke from his cigarette, that as a writer he would immortalize more than one football player, even if his name was Maradona. And he took the opinion of the English writer George Orwell: “Football is not just a game, but deeper than that. It is a way to announce the fights between different peoples, but in a green arena, and with the presence of a referee. It is a war without shooting. There is no connection between football with a ball and fair play, it is a game associated with hatred and jealousy, throwing money and waste of large sums, disobeying all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence, in other words it is like war without shooting.”

Football is linked to prisons, because many players have been sent to prison cells due to various offenses and crimes from football fields, and perhaps the most famous of them is the Italian Paolo Rossi, who was released to support his country at the World Cup in Spain in 1982, so that could help his country win the World Cup, and was the top scorer in that session.

But the allure of football has not escaped political prisoners in Morocco, years of lead. At the beginning of the 1980s, prison conditions experienced some relief, and as a result of prolonged hunger strikes by political prisoners, and the development of the political situation in the country in general, including the amnesty of a number of political prisoners and the return of a group of exiles, the detainees managed to achieve some demands, including the permission to watch international matches broadcast on TV.

In this context, in a private conversation, the writer Abdelaziz Al-Turaibaq, a former political prisoner among the prisoners of the Marxist organization “Forward”, recalls: “With the World Cup approaching, we asked the administration to allow us to watch the end of the English Cup for the 1981-1982 season ., and the management accepted because the conversation was ongoing. The day before during the break, after that we raised the issue of following the World Cup matches, and the management accepted considering the interviews after noon, because the doors close after five. However, we got the “right” to monitor interviews at night inside the corridors of the large “Alef” district, including Brazil against the Soviet Union, in which some comrades supported the Soviet Union for “ideological” reasons, while “queer” (those who understand the minutiae games) ranked alongside the brilliant Brazilian players Socrates, Zico, Falcao and Junior”. Among the political prisoners there were many comrades who ruled the game of football, and if they had not engaged in political struggle, they would have had a certain interest in football, such as Noureddine Al-Saudi, Muhammad Anfalous, Majidou, Al-Hajjaji, Aswab, Benmalek, Ballout and others.

And he adds: “As time went by, we got a hall equipped with a television which we brought in, and the problem of closing the cells was no longer a problem, because it became open 24 hours a day. We all watched the epic of the Royal African Club in the 1984-1985 season, as well as the renaissance of the Moroccan national team, as the techniques decreased Player Mohamed Timoumi and player Aziz Bouderbala and the brilliance of the performance of the national elite, under the leadership of the astute Brazilian coach José Faria, from the ferocity of “political” criticism directed at the national elite, and the general joy was the placement in the second round of the World Cup in Mexico in 1986. As far as purely football discussions are concerned, they were among a very advanced level.

In Tazmamart, a terrible secret prison and one of the most terrible prisons in the world in the twentieth century, there were fans of a different kind of Moroccan national team that played its matches at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, where the army prisoners participated in two consecutive coups against the monarchy ( 1971 and 1972), In cells that are more than narrow and bad, they do not meet, but they managed to establish a special language of communication between them, and they also managed to secretly possess a small radio whose waves followed the live broadcast of the meeting of the Moroccan team with Portuguese colleague in Guadalajara, Mexico. One of the survivors of the Tazmamart hell, Ahmed Al-Marzouki, remembers how the cells shook whenever the voice of the announcer was heard announcing that the national team had scored a goal against the Portuguese national team at the 1986 World Cup, and commented on these dramatic scenes: There were those who cheered for the goals out of joy.” Three national teams in Portugal’s goal, at the moment when his ribs hurt.”

On that day, the representative of the national team told the official TV that the plan was given to them by the king, who ordered them to score three goals, which happened (!). As for the king, he took advantage of his presiding over one of the debates in the presence of foreign guests, and said that the victory of the elected means nothing but freedom (!).

The Moroccan thinker Al-Mahdi Al-Manjara (1933/2014) has a different opinion, when he said: “It is no different to defeat Egypt if he wins.. and likewise with Algeria and Tunisia … there is no use of abundant boiling and of fighting… we are all equal in backwardness, illiteracy and ignorance. Bad health, general unemployment, waste of wealth, and the hidden one is bigger… Football is just a game and is not one of the items of development or the known indicators of human development defined by the United Nations, which are health, education, individual income or standard of living population… Underdeveloped nations see everything in the ball. It’s basically nothing…”

What did you do with the ball.. What did you do with the net?!

About Ebenezer Morley, the “father” of the English Football Association, who is credited with “inventing” football and establishing the rules of the game.

With apologies to the great Lebanese poet Onsi Al-Hajj.

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