It was interesting to see Morocco reach the semifinals of the (soccer) World Cup and then get knocked out by France. It was a case of former colonial masters putting them back into place, a reminder that the World Cup was crowded enough with Europe and South America, and didn’t need any Africans or Arabs.
It might be a sign of the times that the Cup was in Qatar, in an Arab country. Morocco’s loss would be a bit like Pakistan losing to England in the Cricket World Cup. As a matter of fact, that happened back in 1979, in a semifinal. Imran was not yet captain, so were destined not to get the Cup. That was to wait until 1992, But though the country was gifted a PM, at that time, the victory was made sweet by the fact that it was England we beat. Though Imran has never made the claim, I’m sure that it was Imran knowing the English better than they knew themselves that enabled the victory.
So Morocco had better wait at least 12 years before they can beat their former colonial masters in a World \cup final. Of course, they will have to have the future ruler of Morocco with them as captain. Either King Mohammad should get himself (or the Crown Prince) picked to lead the team, or else he should shorten all captains by a head. Or he could make sure that only someone with a stable married life is picked as captain.
It’s interesting that the Moroccan run was seen as a victory for Islam. I do not remember the b1992 World Cup win being described as a victory for Islam. The Riasat-i-Madina phase must have come over Imran later. Note also that nobody in the Moroccan team made any promises, though they did behave politely with parents in the stadium praying for them.
However, there’s one little detail that I haven’t had explained. Why did the Moroccan Ambassador call on our Chief of Naval Staff on the day of the match? Is the current CNS, Adm Amjad Niazi, a former footballer? Did he serve as naval attaché in Paris? I know the Navy has connections with France because of the equipment it has, like the Exocet anti-ship missile, the Alouette helicopter and the Daphne-class submarines, but soccer? What pull could our CNS have? As usual, you had a diplomat trying to convince the home government that he was pulling out all stops to further the national interest.
Apart from this, I’m still a little puzzled by the Moroccan team representing Islam. Why didn’t the Iranian team attract that attention. Was it sectarian feeling or because they didn’t do anything but lose? Are Muslims tired of being beaten? Or was the fact that the Palestinians were playing their traditional role of punching-bag for Israel during the tournament have something to do with it?
Were Muslims better off in 1992? Well, neither Bangladesh nor Afghanistan had got Test status, and 9/11 was still far in the future. However, Israel still occupied Palestine, not just the bit they got away with in 1948, but also the large swathe they occupied in 1967. If Qatar could spend billions for the World Cup, turning an impossible dream into reality, why is the Palestinian dream of a free Al-Quds so unrealistic?
Another sign of the times is that there’s been the suggestion of a Christmas Truce between Russia and Ukraine. Funny, such an appeal to religion is not terrorism. Only Muslims are terrorists, remember? Russian commanders have shot down the idea, though, perhaps remembering that the previous ‘Christmas Truce’ in 1914 ended badly, with almost four years of bloody trench warfare. Are they merely reflecting the traditions of the Red Army, which was of godless communism.
Anyway, the schoolchildren here have had yet another three-day weekend, which has been made compulsory because of the smog. So the air at home is not polluted, as opposed to that at school? Kids are not happy, and want the anniversary of the APS massacre declared a holiday. It’s already celebrated in Bangladesh as Victory Day. Do we plan to join them? We should re,e,ber that, as we have been told many times, that the 1971 surrender was a political defeat, not a miliary one. So it seems that we had not got the GOC-in-C East Pakistan, Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi, signing the surrender document, but the PTI East Pakistan Information Secretary.