By Anesu Chakanetsa
LIKE St Paul’s Musami triumph to Premier League glory in 1966 and Kirsty Coventry’s rise in the Sydney waters in the 2000 Olympics, Morocco has been the surprise package of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
And the search engines of people were busy (especially those who did not study history), trying to know where the country is on the map, its history and so on.
The dominant agenda that has been circulating though on social media is Morocco’s place in the African set up.
And someone posted: “Don’t celebrate, Moroccans are not black…Morocco is not Zimbabwe.”
And most social media users found out that Morocco twice applied to become a European Union (EU) member, and they said they were not Africans.
But most forgot to keep on researching and find out that they apoligised for such a total denial of God’s set-up.
The first Moroccan Crisis, 1906, saw the German Premier Kaiser Wilhelm visiting the Sultan in the city of Tangier, an action which infuriated France which had interests in the Moroccan territory.
After getting massive support from its allies, Britain, led by Lloyd George and Italy, led by Vitorio Orlando, France managed to stop any German influence verbally at the Algeciras Conference in Spain.
The Germans backed down.
In the Second Moroccan Crisis, 1911, the cowardly French occupied the city of Fez, in Morocco on account that they wanted to stop a revolt that had risen against the Sultan.
The Germans responded by sending their warship, the Panther to the port city of Agadir.
That again, caused a lot of animosity amongst the Triple Entente countries and Russia too, backed France on the issue.
The Germans backed down again.
Nevertheless, the two crises fuelled to what became known at the First World War.
Well, after a century, the third Moroccan crisis has been happening in Qatar.
The crisis is a mixed bag of success and a lot of questions.
Moroccans have shocked the world by becoming the first African team to reach the last four after decimating giants like Belgium, Spain and Portugal.
Unfortunately they were knocked out of the tournament by their erstwhile colonial masters, France, which has been nicknamed the ‘United States of Africa’ because they have players from different parts of Africa.
The crisis began when the Moroccans defeated Belgium 2-0 in the group stages, and Kevin de Bruyne admitted that his teammates and him were getting older.
Then in the round of 16, Spain thought they were going to have an easy ride and tiki-taka their way to the last eight, but Youssef Bounou and his heroics saved Morocco on penalties.
Spain was playing tiki-taka but Morocco was doing the vice-versa, ‘taka-tiki’.
Cristiano Ronaldo too thought that Morocco was going to be his awakening moment in the quarter finals, but alas, it was not to be.
Instead his jumping record was broken when El Neysri rose above everyone and even the goalkeeper Diogo Costa’s stretched hands to head home in the 43rd minute.
The Moroccans defended until the last minute.
The next minute after the final whistle, Ronaldo was walking out, away from his peers, his eyes drenched in tears, which did nothing console to him from his fears.
Fears of his competition with Lionel Messi.
In the First and Second Moroccan crises, France was fighting for their backyard territory, Morocco, which was a strategic geographical area to export stolen booty, including trophy heads of African kings, diamonds, ivory etcetera.
Morocco has been also an entry point of migrants from West and North Africa heading for France and that backfired.
Those Africans came back to haunt the Atlas lions (Morocco).
The player who scored the second goal that nailed the Atlas Lions in the semi-final, Randal Kolo Muani is of Congolese descent.
Do these Moroccan crises always end with a French win, especially if they are using other countries or people from other countries to do that?
That remains to be seen when the pompous French take on Argentina on Sunday evening in the final of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
And Messi has already been put in the historical books for his exploits during the current World Cup.
Will the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) debate continue?
Maybe, when Ronaldo was crying on his exit, he knew he had lost the GOAT challenge.
It is unfortunate that Messi is slightly younger than him, so while Ronaldo seems to be fading, Messi has still a bit of energy.
It was obviously not going to end well for Ronaldo. Nevertheless, the little man (Messi) will have to prove on Sunday against France that he is the GOAT.
Getting his hands on that golden trophy will get him that name.
Only a World Cup triumph will put the icing on the cake.
But difficult is thy road.
France wants a back-to-back triumph like what Brazil did in the 1950s.
Kylian Mbappe, a French of Cameroon descent has been dazzling.
He shares the same number of goals with Messi – five goals.
However Messi is way older.
The golden boot race has spilled right into the final.
Meanwhile, Croatia and Morocco, two defensive teams, fight for third place tomorrow evening and there has been an imaginative photo of that match, of Moroccans and Croats all seating in the field, waiting for penalties.
The sense is, why should they play when they are all very strong in defence and goalkeeping while the strike force is poor.
A third place for Morocco will also make them the first African country to do so.
They would have made history.