12/20/2013 (press release: media1press)
HM King Mohammed VI phoned on Wednesday Faouzi Benzarti, coach of the Casablanca Raja club, to congratulate him and his team for their historic qualification to the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, which is taking place in Morocco from 11 through 21 December.
“I’m very honored by the call of His Majesty the King. This is the greatest honor of my entire sporting career. I am very grateful to His Majesty may God preserve him,” said Faouzi Benzarti to the press. “I am unable to express my joy,” he added.
The Moroccan club eliminated Atletico Mineiro, the current champion of Latin America’s Copa de Libertadores , on the score of 3-1 on Wednesday in Marrakech. Iajour, Moutouali and Madibé scored the three goals. Ronaldinho, the star of Brazilian football and world champion in 2002 with Brazil, scored the only goal for his team. “Expectations were high and we had a very good season, but our defeat was a bitter one,” said the former world player of 2004 and 2005.“We have now to accept the reality,” he added.
This success is considered as an historical performance for the Raja Soccer Club. It is the first time that a team from an Arab country reaches the final of the tournament, and the second time that an African team reaches this stage after Mazembe (Democratic Republic of the Congo) reached the final in 2010.
“What we have witnessed was an extraordinary event. This is the first time a non continental champion is making it to the final which is going to be an outstanding game”, said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter during a press conference.
The Raja of Casablanca will face on Saturday in Marrakech, Bayern Munich, winners of the first semi-final against Guangzhou Evergrande from China.
Although the King’s attendance at the final was not initially scheduled, it seems that Raja’s qualification to the final of the tournament has prompted the Moroccan monarch to attend the match and lend moral support to Raja’s players.
Since 2008 HM the King has drawn a roadmap for the national sport, personally ensuring the inauguration of several sporting venues and congratulating the champions who excel in international competitions.
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