The sounds were getting louder at Al Thumama stadium – a combination of exhilaration and unbelief, weeping, kisses, and cheers.
Moroccan fans had hoped for this time for a long time, but few expected it to come true.
Their team has achieved a record, being the first Arab and African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals. Portugal, another favorite, was defeated. A turning point for the continent and region.
The suspense on the field and in the seats was evident. Morocco’s crowd sang in Arabic and cheered loudly when their team scored.
This is a time I’ll tell my grandchildren and kids about, one Moroccan fan said.
Morocco made us very proud, both our team and our team manager and we are grateful.
He expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming Arab support for his team.
Despite their difficulty with the Moroccan dialect, he said, some spectators from other Arab countries wanted to join in the chants, inquiring how to say the phrases.
“They were standing next to us… singing Moroccan songs,” he tweeted.
Flags play a crucial role in telling the Moroccan World Cup story. The tower outside my window is lighting up red, with a green star in the center, as I write this. Along with Morocco’s red and green flags, fans carried other Arabian flags to join the fun.
Lots of Arabian fans had also made the journey from all over the world to attend the event in Doha and since their teams are eliminated they altered their tickets to stay and support Morocco.
A couple flew from Morocco to Doha the day before the game. They had left their toddler at home.
“As a mom, I feel guilty,” the wife said, “but I’ll tell him about tonight and how Morocco gave millions of Africans and Arabs hope.
“I don’t think we realized what had just happened; we were witnesses to history. I’m not sure how to describe it, he admitted. It’s a mixed bag of emotions; we’re overjoyed with the win and thrilled for what’s to come.” said another Moroccan fan.
This is a historic sporting occasion for Morocco. It’s the biggest achievement in the history of football for Morocco, but it goes far beyond football. This is glory for an entire region and continent.
More importantly, this is a turning point in how Arab and African teams are perceived not only by European and South American teams but also by their own fans.
One fan said this is a moment of “confidence” – to be able to compete with the game’s titans and be a powerful opponent. What we seek right now is the trophy we’re not here just to compete; we’re here to win he added.