In the wake of the proposed CAF Super League, which is meant to take off in August 2023, This Is Football.Africa will focus on clubs that could possibly be participating, if and when the league materializes. This is the first of the series, where we bring the wonderful variances of African football to you. We spoke to a fan of Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca, after their most recent victory over city rivals and fellow Moroccan giants, Raja Casablanca. In this interview he talks to us of his addiction to Wydad.
Umar Mathir: Assalamu Alaikum ya Hassan ( Peace be upon you O Hassan). Firstly, congratulations to you and your favourite team Wydad Casablanca, on winning the 2021/2022 season CAF Champions League. What would you like to tell us about that achievement?
Hassan Goubraim: Hello brother, I would like to quickly introduce myself to readers. My name is Hassan Goubraim, I’m a 30-year old supporter who is addicted to two colours, Red and White, and three letters W.A.C, which stands for Wydad Athletic Club, a team I’ve been supporting since 1998. I’m sure that I can’t be blamed for this kind of love, as it’s in the nature of humans to love, and my love is for this game, Africa is my continent.
Let me answer your first question now. First of all, I am happy to be the first UNAF region club team fan in Africa to be able to comment here, thanks for this opportunity. I’m happy that my team won the CAFCL 2021/2022, as you know the magnitude of this tournament. League champion clubs and runners up, from all over Africa participate, so being a champion, above all the other domestic League champions of Africa, and making history. I’m happy, that out of the 3 titles we’ve won, two of them were won directly against the best team in Africa, Al Ahly SC of Egypt.
UM: Hassan, how safe is it, for supporters in Morocco to go to matches, especially the bigger games?
HG: If you get the opportunity to wander around in the streets of Casablanca, your eyes will not miss slogans of hope and affection on the walls of the city’s streets. No matter what neighbourhood you’re in, or what building, everyone loves football, and everyone is either Rajawis (Raja Casablanca fans) or Wydadis (Wydad fans). Despite the intense rivalry that sometimes amounts to hostility between the fans of Raja and Wydad, the conditions of the two clubs presence in the same neighborhoods, and the mixing of both clubs’ fans safely throughout the city, have given the derby a special taste, and earned it international fame.
UM: What are the attendances like in the Moroccan Botola?
HG: Apart from the fact that tickets are difficult to get, all the routes to the stadia are well protected by the army of Morocco. Organisation is 100% , for some people, matchdays are as important, almost like an EID day, for example, and you’ll see people singing and dancing in the streets.
UM: Hassan, in South Africa recently, we’ve been seeing a drop in match attendances, with mostly Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates pulling big numbers and only when any of two, of these three clubs play each other in the league or in a cup competition. You’ve hinted that Moroccan Football faces a different challenge?
HG: My brother, allow me to give you some examples. There is a group of Wydad Casablanca supporters, they are Ultras, known as Ultra Winners 2005. They have named themselves like this, as they were founded on the 13th of November 2005, and they have gone on to win the the title of best supporters three times already, in a ranking which features Ultras of club teams, from all around the world. Clearly, the supporters don’t have issues supporting the team, it’s another problem that we face.
UM: What problem is this, Hassan?
HG: It’s difficult to get match tickets, as the normal price is 30 DH (Thirty Moroccan Dirhams, equivalent of approximately 3 U.S Dollars or R54), while a derby game costs around $5 – $15 US dollars (R90 to R270), relatively cheap. However, they sell out very fast, especially the derby tickets, and many people buy them to resell on the ‘Black Market’ for up to $30 (R540), ten times the original price, this is the main difficulty some of the fans face.
UM: What is the management of the league doing to try fix this problem?
HG: The fan I.D. and fan normal identification card, which supporters require to purchase tickets, and are now limited to 3 or 4 tickets per person, it’s improved the situation a little, but has not solved the problem entirely, yet.
UM: What is your opinion of the CAF Super League, which is said to kick off in August 2023?
HG: I guess CAF just wants to find a source of money, thanks to Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA, who failed to get this plan of his working in the UEFA (Europe) region. And found that CAF is a smaller wall for him to jump. I’m so sad, that it’s more of a business deal, rather than FIFA and CAF worrying about the actual state of African club football. This can also be seen in the way CAF president, Dr Patrice Motsepe speaks about this intended project.
UM: Once again Hassan Goubraim, thanks very much indeed, chat to you again hopefully soonest.
HG: I’m always happy to be talking to you my friend, keep well, and yes, we’ll talk again.
Read more on African Super League here: