With one round of games to go, Raja Casablanca secured their 11th Moroccan League title last Saturday, earning a place at the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013 in the process. FIFA.com looks back on another hotly contested campaign in the North African country.
Return to form
After failing to retain their title last season, Raja got off to a good start under Mohammed Fakhir by handing FUS Rabat a comprehensive 3-0 defeat and winning the ensuing three games versus Raja Beni Mellal, KAC de Kenitra and Widad Fez. Positive results were a major feature this term, with the club finishing with just two defeats in reply to nine draws and 19 victories. Ultimately, Raja finished four points clear of nearest challengers FAR Rabat, and all of 18 points ahead of third-placed MAS Fez.
In addition, the Casablanca side’s attack was by far the most potent in the league, recording 56 goals, 16 more than MA Tetouan, the second-highest scorers. In winning the title, Raja will represent host nation Morocco at the FIFA Club World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in Marrakech and Agadir in December.
Fascinating fight in lower reaches
The battle to stave off relegation continued until the last day of the season. While promoted outfit Raja Beni Mellal came up short on the penultimate matchday, COD Meknes and KAC de Kenitra found themselves neck-and-neck until the very end. Coincidentally, the final fixture of the campaign paired the two clubs together, with the eventual 2-2 scoreline keeping Kenitra (27 points) up and consigning Meknes (25 points) to the second division.
Despite his million-dollar transfer to Norwegian side Aalesunds from OC Safi in March, which prevented him from completing a full season, Abderrazak Hamdallah still finished top scorer in the Moroccan League with 15 goals.
17 – The number of league championships, a national record, won by Raja’s great rivals, WAC Casablanca.
What they said
“I was confident we would win because we’ve dominated the league since the start of the season. Despite that, it certainly wasn’t easy, as the competition we had to face – especially from FAR Rabat – was very tough at times," Raja forward Badr Kachani.