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When Africans danced for Morocco at Mohammed V International Airport

By Samuel Ifetoye, who was in Casablanca
13 December 2022   |   4:20 am
Atlas Lions’ victory over Portugal on Saturday at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar was received differently across the globe. However, at the Mohammed V International Airport, it was carnival time for travellers.

Atlas Lions’ victory over Portugal on Saturday at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar was received differently across the globe. However, at the Mohammed V International Airport, it was carnival time for travellers.

Morocco defied the formbooks to beat Portugal 1-0 in one of the quarterfinals of the World Cup to qualify for semifinals, where they will meet France tomorrow.

Travellers of African origin, who were at the airport waiting for their flights to their various destinations, went berserk in joy. It was one moment when Africans, both blacks and Arabs, were seen hugging one another and applauding the unexpected victory.

Before the start of the clash watched by a mammoth crowd in one of the bars inside the airport, everyone, except the Moroccans and a few Africans, believed that the star-studded Portuguese team, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, would have the day.

When The Guardian spoke with a traveller, a Nigerian, who identified himself as Mr. Yinka Folson, he said he was happy that Morocco made Africa proud, adding that the feat will definitely increase Africa’s slots at the next World Cup.

“Many people here do not know why I am so happy with Morocco’s victory. With proper preparation, Nigeria has no excuse missing out of the World Cup.”

Though I am not saying it is our birthright, a footballing country with over 200 million population has no reason not to be at Qatar 2022.

“I hear FIFA is planning to increase the number of African countries at the next World Cup if only we can do well at the current edition. And I thank God that Morocco is making a statement for Africa, which has blown my mind. I never thought this could happen but the reality now is that an African country will be playing in the semifinal for the first time,” he said.

A Moroccan, simply identified as Mohammed, said: “I am glad we have made Africa proud because this victory is not only for Morocco. I was happy when I saw everybody jumping after we scored. The people jubilating here are not Moroccans, but Africans. Therefore, the victory over Portugal is for Africans.”