Morocco February 17, 2010

Morocco begins journey from Tangier to Benoni

Tony Munro

Tony Munro

Morocco has begun its preparations for the Africa Division Three tournament in South Africa in April by hosting Catalanya CC from Barcelona last week.

Although the North Africans lost the series 3-0, the visiting Barcelona side consisted entirely of South Asian expats providing all-indigenous Morocco with a thorough examination ahead of the African tournament.

During the first two games when fielding all locals, Morocco was an accomplished bowling and fielding team, although their batting was somewhat lacking. For the final game, the home side brought in reinforcements from Commonwealth embassies.

The game in Morocco had its origins in the Pakistan Embassy in Rabat - now there are some 300 players playing in the national league involving teams from Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier. There are two cricket grounds in Morocco - in Rabat and Tangier.

Since the league started in 2002, it has used the 50-over format, but going with the times, will switch to Twenty/20 for the new season which starts in April and continues until September. The league is played on a home-and-away basis, meaning all nine teams play 16 games each.

Progress has been difficult in a country which blends Arab and French cultures, although the Moroccan Cricket Association sees the employment of three Level 2 coaches as pivotal to its plans to introduce cricket into schools.

It also intends to hold an annual triangular tournament, providing the national team with regular matchplay outside the World Cricket League.

The Moroccan team which played Catalanya was: Mohammed Ennaoui (capt), Abdelghani Ennaoui, Yassine Boudcher (wk), Ghelzim Redouane, Rachid El Harmaoui, Mohammed Soussi, Soufiane Essayeh, Ibrahim Bekkouri, Mounassir, Ismail Kettani, Fahim Abdelkhalek, Zakaria Zaki.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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