||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (January 2013)|
|Full name||Merouane Zemmama|
|Date of birth||7 October 1983|
|Place of birth||Salé, Morocco|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking Midfielder|
|2004–2005||→ Qatar SC (loan)|
|2008–2009||→ Al-Shaab (loan)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:46, 28 August 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Merouane Zemmama, Arabic: مروان زمامة, (born 7 October 1983) in Salé is a Moroccan footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder. Zemmama represented Morocco at the 2004 Summer Olympics and was first capped at full international level in 2008.
Zemmama joined Hibernian under freedom of contract in August 2006. A diminutive playmaker, Zemmama made his debut for Hibernian on 12 August 2006 in a 0–0 draw at Inverness. He was hailed by manager Tony Mowbray as a new Russell Latapy and his early performances excited the Hibernian fans. Zemmama scored his first goal for Hibs in a 2–2 draw with Edinburgh derby rivals Hearts on 15 October 2006.
Zemmama was part of the team that won the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final and featured significantly in both the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons. During the later stages of the 2007–08 season, Zemmama broke a bone in his foot after turning awkwardly during training. This injury kept him out of the rest of the season and the start of the following season.
In August 2006 it was reported that Raja Casablanca were disputing the legality of Zemmama's transfer to Hibernian. Raja stated that the player had signed a contract with them until 2009, which would have precluded him from signing a contract with Hibernian. Rod Petrie refuted the claim that Zemmama had a contract with Raja.
The Moroccan Football Federation announced on 30 August that they had suspended the player pending an investigation into the transfer. FIFA stated that the player could continue to be selected for Hibs during the investigation. FIFA then stated that the main allegation – that the international transfer certificate had been forged – was a criminal matter. FIFA closed their investigation, pending the outcome of enquiries by the Moroccan police.
During early September 2008, Zemmama was transferred to Al-Shaab on a season-long loan deal due to personal issues. His pregnant wife was unable to enter the UK because she was only 17 years old. Zemmama requested to Hibs that he be transferred to a club where he could live with his wife. The intention of the loan deal was that Zemmama's wife would be 18 years old by the time it expired, making her able to enter the UK. However, after Zemmama moved to the Al-Shaab, the Government increased the age at which brides could enter the UK to 21, throwing Zemmama's return to Hibernian into doubt. Zemmama returned to Edinburgh for the start of the 2009–10 season, however, in the belief that his wife and young son would be allowed to live in Edinburgh.
Return to Hibernian
After returning from the loan to Al-Shaab, Zemmama again became a "key influence" in the Hibs team. He suffered injury problems during the 2009–10 season, however, and was ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering cruciate ligament damage during a match against Falkirk on 27 March. That match had been his comeback from unrelated injuries that had prevented him from starting a game since 17 February. Manager John Hughes admitted in August that he did not expect Zemmama to return before Christmas, as he had not yet commenced jogging exercises as part of his rehabilitation. Zemmama, whose contract with Hibs was due to expire at the end of the 2010–11 season, returned to full training in December.
Zemmama signed for Middlesbrough on 31 January 2011. He agreed a contract to the end of the 2013–14 season, having been transferred for a fee reported to be around £200,000. He made his debut against Swansea City. In his second appearance, against Millwall, he set up goals for Scott McDonald and Leroy Lita. Zemmama scored his first goal for the club in a 2–1 win against Derby County. Zemmama scored in Middlesbrough's League Cup defeat to Crystal Palace. In April 2012, Zemmama scored the winning goal in a match against Southampton, which kept Middlesbrough's chance of promotion alive. It was reported that Zemmama had refused to travel if he was amongst the substitutes in the final matchday against Watford; Mowbray subsequently withdrew him from his travelling squad.
Zemmama scored his third Boro goal, and his first goal of the 2012–13 campaign on 25 August 2012 against Crystal Palace with a free-kick which flew past the Palace wall and then beat Julian Speroni. On 25 September 2012, Zemmama scored a 25-yard goal against Preston North End in the League Cup, in which Middlesbrough progressed to the next round with a 3–1 victory. Middlesbrough and Zemmama parted company by mutual consent on 1 July 2013. Zemmama made 48 appearances for Middlesbrough in total, scoring 7 goals.
Return to Raja Casablanca
On 27 August 2013 Zemmama signed a two years free transfer contract for Raja Casablanca. Zemmama was very famous with his number 5 shirt when he was playing in Moroccan Championship, but this time he chose to get number 55 because his teammate Mouhssine Moutouali is now the one who wears his old number.
Zemmama represented his country at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece, but only played in the second half of Morocco's last game, a 2–1 win against Iraq. The Moroccan federation banned him from international football, however, after his transfer to Hibernian was disputed. The dispute was resolved and the ban was lifted in 2008, allowing Zemmmama to be selected for a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Mauritania. Zemmama won his first cap as a second half substitute in that game, and he scored a goal a minute after coming onto the field.
- "Professional retain list & free transfers 2012/13" (PDF). The Football League. 18 May 2013. p. 20. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- McDermott, Scott (20 April 2008). "I Feared My Mum Was Trapped In House Fire While I Played For Hibs Says Merouane Zemmama". Sunday Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 21 October 2011.
- "Mowbray says Zemmama can be a new Latapy". Edinburgh Evening News (Johnston Press). 3 August 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
- "Sons of the desert end Hibs dry spell". Scotland on Sunday (Johnston Press). 20 August 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
- "ZEM'S A GEM". Daily Record. 23 August 2006.
- "Hibernian 2–2 Hearts". BBC Sport. BBC. 15 October 2006.
- "EXCLUSIVE: HIBEES' ZEM DEAL HIJACKED BY MAFIA". Sunday Mail (Trinity Mirror). 20 August 2006.
- "Hibees: deal is watertight". Edinburgh Evening News. 21 August 2006.
- "Zemmama to play despite ban claim". BBC Sport. BBC. 30 August 2006.
- "Fifa closes probe into Zemmama". BBC Sport. BBC. 5 September 2006.
- Hardie, David (27 March 2009). "Zemmama hope for Hibs". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- Hardie, David (27 April 2009). "Mixu hopeful on Hibs return for Zemmama". Edinburgh Evening News.
- "I'm back and I'm ready to repay the faith Hibs have shown – Zemmama". Edinburgh Evening News. 1 August 2009.
- "Season over for injured Hibs star Merouane Zemmama". BBC Sport. BBC. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- "Merouana Zemmama is 'miles away', admits Hibs boss". The Scotsman. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "Hibs keen to keep Zemmama". Sky Sports (BSkyB). 26 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
- "Merouane Zemmama resumes training at Hibernian". BBC Sport (BBC). 16 December 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- "Zemmama leaves Easter Road for Middlesbrough". STV. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
- "Middlesbrough 2 Derby 1: Boro stun Rams with last minute winner to ease relegation fears". Daily Mail. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
- "Middlesbrough 2–1 Southampton". BBC Sport (BBC). 21 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- "Middlesbrough to sell Merouane Zemmama after refusing to take place on bench at Watford". Daily Mail (BBC). 29 April 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- "Merouane Moves On". www.mfc.co.uk. Middlesbrough FC. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- Match Report, FIFA.
- "Morocco recall for Hibs ace". Sunday Mail (Trinity Mirror). 28 September 2008.
- , FIFA.