Moghreb Tétouan

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For other uses, see MAT (disambiguation).
Moghreb Atlético Tetuán
Moghreb Tétouan logo.svg
Full name Moghreb Atlético de Tetuán or Moghreb Athletic de Tétouan.
Founded 1922
Ground Saniat Rmel,
Tetouan, Morocco
Ground Capacity 12,000[1]
Chairman Abdelmalek Abroun
Manager Sergio Lobera
League Botola
2013–14 Botola Pro, 1st
Website Club home page
Current season

Moghreb Atlético Tetuán (Arabic: المغرب أتلتيكو تطوان‎; also called Moghreb Athletic Tétouan and Maghreb Tetouani (Arabic: المغرب التطواني‎ , acronym MAT) is a Moroccan football club based in Tetouan. The club was founded in 1922 and used to compete in the Spanish leagues till 1956 when Morocco gained independence therefore making the transition to the Moroccan league after the original club, Atlético Tetuán split in two.

History[edit]

Main article: Atlético Tetuán

Foundation and first years (1922–1956)[edit]

In 1917, Tétouan saw the appearance of its first clubs of football, "Sporting of Tetuán" and "el Hispano-Marroquí" ("The Spanish-Moroccan"). One year later these two club, and a third one called "el Radio", merged and that gave the birth to the "Athletic Club Tetuán". The new club was established in 1922 by Basque Atletico Madrid fans who lived in Tetouan (Morocco). In the early days it was known as Athletic Club Tetuan -- based on the Spanish spelling of the city. but after the Spanish Civil War and according to General Franco's demands (he banned non-Spanish names) as Atletico Tetuan. That is why the team has always played in red and white stripes and blue shorts, just like the big brothers from Madrid they were supposed to emulate. Under Spanish Protectorate of Northern Morocco, Tetuan were a part of Spanish Liga for 33 years until independence was achieved in 1956. The highlight of that era was their surprising win of Spanish Segunda División (the southern group) in the 1950-51 season.[2] and promotion to the Primera Division of 1951-52, and the club remain, to this very day, the only African team ever to play in a top division in Europe.

That was a season to remember. Tetuan's away form was dreadful -- they lost 14 out of 15 games on their travels -- but on home soil in Morocco they were a force to be reckoned with. Atletico were thrashed 4-1 in a rather weird "derby," and six more wins were achieved, while the mighty Real Madrid could only draw 3-3 on their visit to North Africa. Sadly that wasn't enough as Tetuan finished bottom of the table and were relegated, but such heritage has never been forgotten.

Moghreb Atlético Tetuán (1956–)[edit]

Following independence, Atletico Tetuan split into two. While AD Ceuta, still under Spanish control, were the club's official successors, newly established Moghreb Tetouan (Moghreb meaning Moroccan) kept the colours and made the logo as close as possible to that of Atletico Madrid. Indeed, their fans have always supported Los Colchoneros -- something of a rarity in a country that is mostly divided between Real and Barcelona.

Atletico Madrid's trophies were the main source of joy for Tetouan supporters throughout the years -- their own team is rather small even by local Moroccan standards, having spent long spells in the second division -- while their relationship was cemented in 2007 as some of Atletico's upper management visited Morocco to establish a football school that would benefit both parties.

The rising (2011–)[edit]

Tetouan really began to move up the footballing pyramid in July 2011, though, when little known coach Aziz El Amri was appointed. His mission was to save the team from relegation, but he took them to their first ever championship title in 2012 -- a feat even more remarkable when you take into account that some of the senior players went on strike over unpaid wages, and Tetouan were forced to use inexperienced home grown youngsters instead. On the final day, they needed just a draw at FUS Rabat and won 1-0 to seal the trophy. Around 30,000 fans travelled with the team -- the largest away crowd in Moroccan football history -- and the celebrations were something to behold.

In context, 2012-13 was relatively mediocre as the team lost some of their best players who left to other clubs but in the following season Tetouan were back in the title race again, knowing that success would be especially important with a place in the 2014 Club World Cup at stake for the winners. By the end of May, a phenomenal prospect was on cards: Atletico Madrid had qualified for the Champions League final, while Tetouan were in pole position to win the Moroccan league. It was not to be. First, Moghreb Tetouan were thrashed 5-0 by Raja Casablanca in the big game on the penultimate day of the season, seemingly losing the crown. Then, on May 24, Atletico Madrid went agonisingly close to lifting the trophy, only for Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid to equalize in the dying seconds and for city rivals to run away with the game in extra time. Tetouan fans were distraught, but just a few hours later, on May 25, they celebrated wildly as Raja Casablanca sensationally lost to Olympic Safi on the final day, gifting the championship title to Tetouan.

The dream of facing Atletico Madrid was dead, but hopes of meeting "the other team from Madrid" were very much alive. In 2001, a friendly game had been scheduled between Moghreb Tetouan and Real Madrid to mark the 60th anniversary of that famous 3-3 draw in the Primera Division, only for the plans to be cancelled by Los Blancos due to some logistical problems.

The 2014 Club World Cup and the end of El Amri's era[edit]

Moghreb Tetouan’s reward for winning the 2013-2014 season of the Moroccan championship, Botola was a place in the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, their debut in the competition.

Their debut ended in disappointment getting eliminated on the preliminary round as they went down on penalties to Auckland City, the side that has made more appearances in the competition than any other.

Due to Moghreb Tétouan's consistent poor performances in the Moroccan league (earning just two points from the last five fixtures before the Club World Cup) and against Auckland City, El Amri was shown the door.

Sergio Lobera and African success[edit]

On 24 December 2014 Sergio Lobera was appointed as the new Moghreb Tétouan's head coach [3] and successor of El Amri, becoming the 3rd Spanish in the club's technical team after Juanma Cruz was appointed as goalkeeper coach and Manuel Sayabera as Physical trainer, it didn't take long from the players to adapt to Lobera's philosophy displaying unprecedented maturity and self confidence, the team was back on track and started winning league matches again, thanks to Lobera's brilliant strategies the team got a fresh breath of air, changing completely the way the team plays which paid off as they managed in their 2nd African Champions League participation to get through the preliminary round for the first time after the team failed to do so under El Amri, and eventually making it to the group stage for the first time in the club's history after defeating Club Olympique de Bamako, Kano Pillars in the first round and Al Ahly in the second round therefore making it to the Groups Stage for the first ever for the club and since years for Morocco.

Stadium de Varela[edit]

Whilst it is almost certain that football was played on the site of the Estadio de Varela from the turn of the 20th century, the land was not formally enclosed until 1913. Situated on the north bank of the River Martil, the stadium played host to a variety of sports thanks to the inclusion of a cinder athletics track. Rudimentary bleachers were added once Atlético started to play in Campeonato Hispano-Marroquí, whilst officials could watch from a rather ornate raised, open terrace. This wedge shaped construction was double sided, so that one could view races at the hippodrome that stood to the west of the stadium. Atlético's ascent to La Primera led to the stadium undergoing major redevelopment. An open stand with bench terracing was erected on the east side which was linked to semi circular end terraces. Club office and changing rooms were built in the south west corner and the pitch was access via an underground tunnel behind the southern goal. The stadium's main tribuna was built on the west side, and this featured a vaulted concrete cantilevered roof. However, it was only 75 metres in length and ran from the southern touchline, before seemingly losing interest and petering out just after the halfway line. With a capacity of 15,000, Varela suited Atlético just fine, and it also seemed to suit Moghreb Tétouan just fine, as little was done to the stadium for the next 50 years.

In the intervening years, the stadium was renamed the Stade Saniat Rmel and in 2007, the parched turf was replaced with an artificial surface. Work on the original terraces saw the capacity reduced to 10,000, but then in 2011, to mark the 60th anniversary of the original club's promotion to La Primera, the main tribuna underwent a major refurbishment. A new framework was erected at the rear of the stand to support the original, ageing concrete roof. Everything was given a coat of red, white & blue paint and new bucket seats were bolted to the concrete steps. After 50 years of achieving very little, Moghreb Tétouan won its first Moroccan championship in May 2012. As the city celebrated the club's first major honour, the Ultras paraded banners celebrating the club's Spanish heritage, saying "Siempre Los Matadores" (Matadors Forever).

Ultras[edit]

Moghreb Tetouan has 2 "ultras" fan groups, Los Matadores since 2005 and Siempre Paloma since 2006, both are based in Tetouan and even though they had conflicts over the years with each other they managed to unite and are now in good terms as they sit next to each other and work cooperatively.

Moghreb Tetouan's supporters are known to be some of the most loyal, dedicated, organized and civilised supporters in Morocco, they're also known for their unique chants in which they mix Arabic and Spanish, in 2012 they broke the record of the largest away crowd in Moroccan football history when more than 30.000 fans travelled with the team to Rabat to face FUS Rabat on the last day of the Moroccan championship, a match they won to earn their first title.

Again on the opening day of the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup, Moghreb Tetouan was facing Auckland City in the preliminary round, a record breaking away crowd of more than 40.000 fan attended the match.

Honours[edit]

1936, 1942, 1943, 1946, 2012, 2014
1965, 1994, 1997, 2005.

Sponsorship[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 25 January 2015

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 Cameroon DF Florent Obama
3 Morocco DF Mohamed Abarhoun (captain)
4 Morocco MF Ali Ouladchair
5 Senegal DF Mourtada Fall
6 Morocco DF Mehdi Khallati
7 Morocco DF Youssef Bouchatta
8 Morocco MF Noussair El Maimouni
9 Morocco FW Mouhssine Iajour
10 Morocco MF Zaid Krouch
11 Morocco MF El Mehdi Azim
12 Morocco GK Mohamed El Yousfi
14 Morocco DF Anas Lamrabat
16 Morocco DF Bilal Zarouh
17 Morocco FW Faouzi Abdelghani
19 Morocco FW Zouheir Naim
No. Position Player
20 Morocco MF Ahmed Jahouh
21 Morocco FW Abdessamad Rafik
22 Morocco GK Adnane El Assimi
23 Morocco MF Said Grada
24 Morocco MF Abdelmaoula El Hardoumi
25 Netherlands FW Anouar Hadouir
26 Morocco MF Abdeladim Khadrouf
28 Spain MF Cristian Hidalgo
29 Morocco MF Mehdi Namli
30 Morocco DF Hamza El Moussaoui
31 Morocco GK Fouade Baba Alla
35 Morocco MF Mohamed Makaazi
37 Morocco FW Salman Ouald El Haj
38 Morocco DF Mohamed Saoud

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
70 Morocco MF Mohamed Rouas (to Ittihad Khémisset)

Managers[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Tetuán y su Atlético by Julio Parres Aragonés (L'Hospitalet: el author, 1997).

References[edit]

External links[edit]