The Botola is finally upon us again after a long summer break. Maghrib Foot are proud to give you a team-to-team preview ahead of the 62nd season in Morocco and predict how the clubs will fare.
Full name: Olympique Club de Safi (OCS)
Stadium: Stade El Massira (10,000)
Manager: Hicham Dmii
Position last season: 7th
Where do we begin with Olympique Safi? Last season was successful after finishing 7th in the league on 43 points, their best result since 2010/11. They made a habit of taking points from the big clubs and only lost 7 of their 30 games, recording the highest amount of draws in the league. In addition to that, they were the only club alongside Hassania Agadir, to remain unbeaten at home, making Stade El Massira a fortress. But already towards the end of the season, we started seeing problems inside the club unfolding.
Players were complaining about unpaid salaries, threatening to skip practice and leave the club in protest. In the end, it was manager Mohamed Amine Benhachem who took action and left in anger after crying out for respectful treatment of players and staff. His standing in the locker room was very important at OCS and we think they’ll miss him big time this year.
New manager Hicham Dmii has not got much to work with, as the club’s leaders have given him next to nothing to spend in the transfer window. They are the club with the least signings this summer despite being in desperate need of reinforcements. Kassi Mathias has followed Benhachem to OCK, while last season’s topscorer, Hamza Khabba, is back at FAR Rabat after the loan deal expired. Especially the latter will be hard to replace, as his goals proved vital.
OCS fans will expect Hamza Goudali to step up, as the 21-year-old showed flashes of his talent last season. This time around he will have even more responsibility on his shoulders and needs to deliver for Safi to have a good campaign.
As the problems off the field continue to harm OCS and their preparations, we think it will have a direct effect on their performance this season. Therefore, they will take one of the relegation spots in our prediction, 15 years after getting promoted in 2004.
Prediction: 15th (relegation)