Football interests appeared in Marrakech a long time ago. The most important playground for the youngsters are the streets, and, as a country with scarce economic resources, a simply empty plastic bottle can also be considered as a ball. The easiest way for children to exercise and have fun is football, which is also the way to measure one’s skill against the opponent.
In any case, not only the younger ones are fans of football. Teenagers and adults also get together at any time of the day (mornings, torrid afternoons and even early mornings) to play a match in some urban small square or in the many open fields or dirt football pitches laid out throughout the city for the use and enjoyment of whoever is ready to shoot around.
As spectators, the inhabitants of Marrakech also stand out for their enthusiasm. Fondness for football is such that even the small local leagues attract a loyal audience around the pitch who support the players by celebrating their goals and booing the referee if needed.
Needless to say that Moroccans are always extremely well informed about the placings of all teams in all European competitions. The team with most fans in Marrakech is FC Barcelona, followed by Real Madrid. As regards national teams, France is their favourite one. In the wardrobe of any teenager there must be at least one first-division team T-shirt and, sometimes, quite incomprehensibly, it is easier to find the latest equipment in the Medina than in an official shop in a European capital. That’s Morocco!
It is rather uncommon to see women in bars in Marrakech on a normal day, but if there is a football match on TV, what is improbable becomes quite impossible. Although the sports world is not exclusively masculine, football could be considered a hobby just for men in Marrakech, just like in other cities in Morocco and in many other cities in the world.
When there is a football match on TV, men pack the cafés with football T-shirts and scarves. Then, the chairs, usually facing the street to watch pedestrians passing by, are now directed towards to TV screen, and the party begins. Not even a football pitch enjoys such animation. People take drink their tea, chat animatedly, laugh and, when the time comes, the word “goal!” is shouted with such enthusiasm that those who have decided to stay at home can guess for sure that FC Barcelona has won the championship… Dancing is also allowed, and even playing the fool; the important thing is to have some fun.
Come to the fascinating city of Marrakech and discover its passion for football, soccer, “el-kura” or however you want to call it. The Ochre City offers culture and a fascinating tradition, monuments and countless tourist attractions, and also a great nightlife, a delightful cuisine and the widest range of shopping opportunities.
Moreover, hotels in Marrakech are of the highest quality and quite affordable, and particularly Marrakech riads which are full of charm and very inexpensive. You can also stay in a wonderful villa in Marrakech, closer to the countryside, where its inhabitants will welcome you with open arms.
David Gonzalez-Company (BA Degree in Philosophy, Universitat de València (Spain); MA (Hons) Degree in Mental Philosophy, University of Edinburgh (UK); MA Degree in Comparative Literature, University of Washington (USA)) is a writer, journalist, educator and translator who has traveled extensively and has lived in several European, North American and African countries.