Ziyech’s mosque, former football club rallying for Morocco win over Portugal
At Reaal Dronten, Hakim Ziyech 's old club, the canteen on Saturday is expected to be completely full when the star player kicks off at 4 p.m. with the Moroccan team against Portugal for a spot in the semifinals of the World Cup in Qatar.
The club has brought the first team's match forward by an hour so that everyone can get to the big screen in time, said director of club affairs Suze Teunissen. The club is very proud of their former pupil. "You sometimes think, geez, he kicked his first ball here."
Nordin Ghouddani has been making the football talk show Mocro Inside on YouTube for 2.5 years. Especially for the World Cup, his program airs from location, a meeting center in Gorinchem.
At his talk show table sit Oussama Assaidi, former player of Liverpool FC, and Oussama Tannane of NEC for the pre- and post-game reviews. Together with the audience, they will watch the match. "The pressure is on, we can make history," says Ghouddani." At the last win, I saw several people crying in the hall."
In the Schilderswijk district of The Hague, they are following the Moroccan team closely. "It is crowded, there is popcorn, there is match tension and it is cozy," said Nicoline Grötzebauch, director of community center De Mussen. At the last match against Spain, there were mostly mothers with children. "The fathers watch in the coffee houses."
Also in the Blue Mosque in Amsterdam Nieuw-West, fans watch the matches of both Morocco and Orange together. According to a spokesperson, this is not usual, but an exception is now being made given the social impact.
An exciting moment is when the TV turns off for a moment for prayer, because that comes before soccer. That will also be the case next Saturday afternoon. "But when you go into prayer from the adrenaline, it also gives a kind of peace," the spokesman said.
Incidentally, footballer Zakaria Aboukhlal, who plays for Morocco at the World Cup, is a loyal visitor to the Amsterdam mosque. "He often comes by for prayer. We are therefore very proud of him."
At online sports store Voetbalshop.nl, Morocco's success has not gone unnoticed. The demand for clothing for the Moroccan national team increased after the victory over Canada. All shirts are now sold out. Ziyech 's shirt is the most popular. "If only we had bought more," said owner Roland Heerkens. "Nobody expected this."
The Dokkumer Vlaggen Centrale noticed that the flags of all countries at the World Cup were more in demand and that also included the red Moroccan flag with a green star, a spokesperson said.
Reporting by ANP