On Friday 10 February, Raja Casablanca made a mince meat of Vipers of Uganda in their Match Day 1 of the CAF Champions League.
The score line of 5-0 manifest the ruthless efficiency of Raja Club Athletic, one of the continent’s most successful clubs.
The call card speaks volumes: Three times African Champions, two times CAF Confederation Cup winners, two times CAF Cup winners and the eternal holders of the MKO Abiola CAF Cup.
In the FIFA Club World Cup, Raja Casablanca were runners-up in the 2013 edition after a 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich.
For their performance, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the sports inclined ruler of Morocco opted to reward the club with structures instead of pecuniary which is the norm in the continent.
A football academy located on a 7.5 hectares of land in the district of Ain Jemâa, in Bouskoura area of Casablanca is the remarkable gift to Raja Casablanca. The benefits are for ever.
A visit to the site was mind blowing. No club will own such facility and not be encouraged to scale greater heights.
Mohammed Marouan is the director of the academy.
Pointing at the photograph that adorned the reception of the academy, he was full of praise to the Moroccan monarch for the kind gesture.
In the photograph is Prince Moulay Rachid, the younger brother to King Mohammed VI, as he presented the Moroccan Throne Cup trophy, the Moroccan national cup competition to Raja Casablanca’s skipper after the 2017 final match.
Raja club holds their training session on the natural grass pitch of the Academy. One of such training session was held on Thursday the eve of their 5-0 defeat of Vipers of Uganda in the CAF Champions League.
According to Marouan, the director of the academy, the club comes there to train at the facility, which has a standard natural grass training pitch as well as another one that is hybrid synthetic.
Two others were under construction at the time of the visit. In addition are four other training pitches, all lush green.
Marouan explained that the academy which was opened on 22 September 2022. currently have about 30 students, although the capacity is high. The apartments housing the academy players have 45 rooms and each has two beds for the young players.
On a typical day at the academy, the students are expected to be up from bed by 7: 00am and be ready for breakfast 30 minutes later.
By 8am, they should be leaving for school where they are expected to have breakfast from 8 to 8.30 am and launch at 1pm.
They will have snacks at 5pm and dinner at 8.00 pm. By 10.30pm, they are expected in their rooms.
Expectedly, the academy is equipped with well staffed clinic and equipment that ensure the good health of the inhabitants.
“We have four buildings (A, B, C and D). Building A is reserved for first-team players”, Marouan explained.
The Raja Casablanca team have two workouts a day. “It allows them to rest during the day and avoid returning to Casablanca and coming back again.
“Buildings B, C and D are dedicated to young people: cadets, juniors and hopefuls. We have 10 single rooms for the technical and medical staff,” he explained.
One of the large rooms of the complex have a trophy shelf where diplomas and trophies won by Raja Casablanca are displayed.
Indeed, the Raja Club Athletic Academy is a model in Africa.
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