Morocco versus France: A Fifa World Cup semi-final with the baggage of a colonial past- Current Affairs
Defending champions France look to be in great form since the beginning of the FIFA World Cup 2022. With the exception of the Tunisia match, they have won all the matches in the tournament so far. Morocco became the first African nation to reach the world cup semi-finals after upsetting Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 1-0.
When Morocco faces France in the semi-final of the Fifa World Cup in Qatar, a complicated relationship between the two nations will frame the story of the football game. Between 1912 and 1956, most of modern day Morocco was a French colony. While it is a sovereign nation today, the imprint of French colonialism can be felt in various details of Moroccan society and politics. The two nations continue to share a fond but frictional relationship.
The Indian Express looks at the historical context in which tonight’s football match is situated and how Morocco’s dream run in the tournament is already a symbolic triumph against neocolonialism.
France and Morocco have played against each other five times in the past. France have won three matches and Morocco one while one match ended in a draw. However, these two sides have never faced one another in a major competition, like the world cup.
Mbappe and Giroud will be key players to watch out as both of them will have a chance to secure their spot as the leading goal-scorer in the tournament and take their team to the final again. Hakim Ziyech, who has already scored once in the tournament, will be a key player for Morocco.
Date, Time & Venue
The France vs Morocco match will be played on December 15 at 00:30 AM (Indian time) in the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor.
Morocco’s anti-colonial struggle
With French education also came ideas of liberty and equality, both of which were missing in the seemingly peaceful and picturesque French colony. As nascent nationalist sentiments spread across the land, France resorted to standard “divide and rule” tactics, pitting the native Imazighen people (pejoratively known as Berbers) against the Arabs, who had moved to the region over centuries of Arab rule and conquest.
However, this ploy was unable to contain burgeoning anti-colonial sentiments which harkened to a past whose symbols were very much a part of the present. France’s decision to rule through the region’s traditional elites preserved the ruling class, and by World War II, the Sultan became a rallying point for nationalists.
The War and the fall of France brought jeopardy and hope to Morocco: on one hand, France, its colonial overlord, was under German occupation itself, but on the other, Americans and other allied forces soon landed in Morocco, using the country as a base of operations. Hope that Morocco would see independence after the War was short-lived. While independence seemed inevitable, it would require a concerted struggle during which the undisguised injustices of colonial rule would become more frequent.