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: Kawkab Athlétique Club de Marrakech (KACM)
Stadium: Stade de Marrakech (45,000)
Manager: Faouzi Jamal
Position last season: 14th
The story of Kawkab Marrakech is an interesting one. The two-time Botola champions finished 3rd and 4th in the seasons following their promotion in 2013 and played in the CAF Confederations Cup only two years ago. But while impressing in Africa, they were only one point above the relegation zone in 15/16 and also struggled big time in 16/17. With Youssef Meriana in charge, things didn’t really change last season, where the late winner against CR Al Hoceima in the penultimate round proved to be the difference and secured another close survival.
Faouzi Jamal has now taken the reigns and will hope to achieve something similar to what he did in his first season with Ittihad Khémisset, when they won the Elite 2 and only lost three times in 30 games. But does he have a squad that can actually compete at this level? At their best, they are one of the more entertaining sides in the league and their wins against Wydad Casablanca at home and FAR Rabat away last season, were highly impressive.
But you also have to raise questions about where the real quality is, especially in defense, where only Racing Casablanca conceded more goals last season. Players like Yassine Dahbi, Abdelilah Amimi and Mohamed Lahlali can create a lot of danger on their day, but there’s not really much else to shout about.
KACM have luckily managed to keep most of their key players this summer. Rudolph Ngombé could never find his feet after his move from OCK and has now left for Kuwait, while Wissam Baraka (MCO), El Mehdi Elhaki (DHJ), Khalid Sekkat and Jamal Brarou are also gone. But the new signings don’t give you a feeling of a much improved side. Soufiane Zakaria (CRA), Reda Zahraoui (IZK), Anas Tagnaouti (MAS) and Yasser Jarici (CAK) sound more like a strengthened second division team than anything else.
“The Planet” are actually the only club without any foreigners in Botola at the moment and maybe the team chemistry could be of value after all in the coming season. But that can only take you so far and when looking at their results in recent seasons, with a stronger squad than what they have now, we can’t see them climb too much on the table.