The Dutch Moroccan community is centre stage in most of the Dutch media on Wednesday, ahead of the Moroccan football team’s World Cup semi-final against France. Several members of the team are Dutch, Moroccan flags are a sell out and the police are on standby to combat any post match excesses.
Hakim Ziyech, Noussair Mazraoui, Sofyan Amrabat and Zakaria Aboukhlal all representing ‘the Dutch link’ with the Moroccan national team, the AD wrote in its lead up to the match.
The paper quoted former player Ali Boussabon who said at least some of the Moroccan success is down to the Dutch school of football which is ‘the best in the world’ although, he said, most of the credit should go to coach Walid Regragui.
Broadcaster NOS featured the proud father of star player Sofyan Amrabat who has fond memories of his son playing football in the streets of Huizen. ‘We always encouraged him to play, come rain or shine, at the weekend. And it’s all been worth it,’ the paper quoted Amrabat Sr as saying.
There are more proud parents in the Telegraaf which wrote about the way the players involved their mothers in every win and which ‘brings tears to the eyes’. Ashraf Hakimi ran into his mother’s arms after the victory against Portugal while Sofiane Boufal pulled his mother onto the field for a victory dance to the joy of thousands of fans.
‘Their mothers are a source of inspiration for the players,’ the paper wrote.
At Hakim Ziyech’s first village football club Reaal Dronten expectations are also high for Wednesday’s game. Former team mate Jeffrey van den Brakel talked about one match in which Ziyech scored ’17 or 18 times’ taking the final score to 27-4.
‘If he didn’t score himself he made it possible for someone else to score,’ he told local broadcaster Omroep Flevoland.
Nu.nl focused on the possibly riotous aftermath of the game following earlier disturbances which, the news site said, are stretching resources and are aimed at confrontations with the police.
According to the NRC ’emotions are running high in the Netherlands and Belgium because of everyday discrimination and racism experienced by the Moroccan diaspora.’
The paper went to Rabat to gauge the atmosphere there and found a different view. ‘The team is putting us on the map,’ journalist Yassine Chaoui told the paper, while sociologist Khadija Berady said the wins are ‘a recognition of the Moroccan identity and competencies’ in the face of post colonialism.
Meanwhile flag maker Dokkummer Vlaggencentrale DVC is busy preparing a special World Cup flag as orders skyrocket. ‘We sold five times as many Moroccan flags in 48 hours than we do in a year and we’re hoping to deliver them all in time,’ regional broadcaster RTV NOF reported.
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