Al-Nusairi and Onahi graduated from it.. Learn more about the Mohammed VI Football Academy, a mine of football talent in Morocco | sports
RABAT – “Oh my God, where did this boy come from?” With these words, Spanish coach Luis Enrique described the Moroccan player Azzedine Onahi, expressing his admiration for his skill and style of play during the match that brought together the Atlas Lions and the Spanish national team, in the final of the World Cup, which ended with the victory of Morocco.
With the great brilliance of the players of the Moroccan national team at the World Cup in Qatar 2022, attention is focused on the Mohammed VI Football Academy, which has graduated three players, within the Atlas Lions main squad; They are: midfielder Ezzedine Onahi, forward Youssef Al-Nusairi and defender Nayef Akrad, along with the third goalkeeper of the national team, Red Al-Teknouti.
The player of the French club Angers, Azzedine Onahi, is the fruit of the Moroccan formation, because he joined the Football Academy of Mohammed VI in 2015, where he trained until 2018, the date of his transfer to professionals in the French club Strasbourg, and from there to the American club Avranche in 2020, to would sign for Angers Club this year.
Atlas Lions striker, Youssef Al-Nusairi, joined this academy in 2011, coming from Maghreb Club Fassi, and stayed there until 2015, when he signed a contract with Spanish Malaga, from which he moved to Leganes. 2018, then Seville in 2020, and achieved remarkable results at the World Championship in Qatar. ; He became the first Moroccan player to score in two consecutive editions of the World Cup, and the top scorer in the history of Morocco at the World Cup, with three goals, in the 2018 and 2022 editions.
The defender of the Moroccan national team, Nayef Akrad, also graduated from the academy, because he came to it from the club Kenitra in 2011 before going to the club Al-Fath Al-Rabati in 2014, after which he moved to the club Dijon in 2018 and spent two seasons with them before he left for Rennes in the 2020 season and currently plays for West Ham United in the English Premier League.
As for the fourth student of the academy among the national team members, it is the third national team goalkeeper and goalkeeper of El Oued Casablanca and the Moroccan national team, Ahmed Reda El Technouti.
The Mohammed VI Football Academy was founded in a context characterized by stagnation in football. King Mohammed VI sent a message to a national sports debate organized by Skhirat in 2008, criticizing the decline of Moroccan sports.
In order to get out of the crisis, he advocated for the establishment of a modern and efficient system of organizing the sports sector, which would be based on “restructuring the national sports scene, professionalizing sports organizations and democratizing the governing bodies”, according to the press release. message text.
This message represents a turning point in the sports field, after which numerous reform projects and restructuring of the sector were launched, as a result of which the Mohammed VI Football Academy was established in the city of Sale, on the outskirts of Rabat.
Research and formation
The Moroccan monarch officially opened the academy in 2009, with the aim of discovering football talents among younger ages, and forming a new generation of football players, according to an educational system that combines sports and learning, and in September 2010, the academy opened its doors to receive candidates.
And this project has been completed – which was built on an area of about 18 hectares and cost 140 million Moroccan dirhams (13 million dollars), financed by private actors (banks and large companies), and the Moroccan monarch allocated annual financial support from own money for this project, as it was announced at the time. Official news agency.
The academy was built and equipped according to standards that make it comparable to international training centers, with the aim of providing suitable conditions for training football talents in a mathematical and scientific way, enabling them to play in the biggest football clubs, whether in Morocco or Europe.
The academy – led by the personal secretary of the Moroccan monarch and head of the Al-Fateh Al-Rabati team, Muhammad Mounir Al-Majidi – consists of two main areas: an open space that includes playgrounds and green areas, and a sports complex that includes five residential buildings, education, medical center and canteen.
The former director of the Mohammed VI Football Academy, Nasser Larquette, recalls the first beginnings of the establishment, and tells Al-Jazeera Net that he, accompanied by some talent scouts and personnel, visited the Kingdom of Morocco between 2007 and 2009 in search of football talents, from which it follows that 39 children between the ages of 12 and 17 started training the academy during its launch.
Larquette explained that after years of work, this institution has achieved impressive results, of the 57 children who were educated there, 47 of them became professionals by playing in the national team, while 12 of them became professionals in Europe.
Regarding the conditions for selecting members of the academy, Larquette said that the player should have technical skills and qualifications in physical fitness, stating that the trainings are conducted by the medical team and physical trainers, in order to train the users technically, tactically, physically, psychologically and mentally.
The spokesman – who is currently the technical director of the Saudi FA – pointed out that the success of the academy in discovering and training talent and feeding national and local teams with qualified players, was a strong incentive for football clubs, which is why they decided to establish schools and academies to form small groups, after they were only interested in groups between 16 and 17 years old.
A soccer gem
In a detailed report on national football published on its official website last July, the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) praised the academy, explaining that it “includes among its ranks the latest facilities and equipment, all compatible with FIFA standards”. .
Sports expert Badr Al-Din Al-Idrisi confirms that the Mohammed VI Football Academy has identified great potential and signed a contract with highly qualified personnel in various disciplines to graduate numerous football talents, who attracted attention during the World Cup in Qatar and contributed to the national team’s historic achievement in qualifying for the advanced levels of the championship. In addition to its role in supplying all age groups of the national team with high-level players.
Al-Idrisi confirmed – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the results achieved – currently – confirm that the academy has paid off in record time, and that it continues to work towards achieving its goals, which indicates that today it is no longer alone in the formation of football talents , other academies have already been added to it. Such as: academies of the Royal Army Clubs, Al-Wydad, Al-Raja, Al-Maghrib Al-Fasi, Nahdet Berkane and others.
The challenge is getting bigger
In addition to academies, sports journalist Younes Al-Kharashi emphasizes the importance of the “Study and Sports” program launched by the Ministry of National Education in discovering and training talents.
This program, launched by the Ministry of National Education in 2019, aims to enable students in public schools to combine exercise and learning.
Al-Kharashi confirmed – in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net – that after the great results achieved by the national team at the World Cup, the responsibility will be on the shoulders of the Football Academy of Mohammed VI. to be bigger, and the challenge bigger, after the attention of the Moroccan player, who will become in demand all over the world.