Botola, News

Botola 18/19: Can Tarek Mostafa take Rapide Oued Zem to the next level?

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. Next up is Rapide Oued Zem.

Full name: Rapide Club Oued Zem (RCOZ)
Founded: 1926
Stadium: Stade Municipal de Oued Zem
Manager: Tarek Mostafa 🇪🇬
Position last season: 10th

After achieving promotion to the Botola for the first time in the club’s history, Rapide Oued Zem surprised everyone in their debut season. Halfway through, they were six points off of relegation and resorted to sacking manager Mohamed Bekkari. Egyptian Tarek Mostafa, formerly at Difaâ El Jadida, came in and lead them to a fantastic 10th place with three straight wins against Raja Casablanca, CA Khénira and Olympique Safi towards the end.

Now the real challenge begins, taking on the second season of top flight football, which traditionally is tough. Other clubs are aware of their threat and players won’t always be as motivated. Question is if they can keep the momentum going and build on the positives we saw in the latter stages of last season.

RCOZ have continued to bring in players from CA Khénifra in the transfer window. Senegalese striker, Saër Sène, is a solid signing and would strengthen most clubs in Morocco, while Nilmar and Boudali have also made the move from CAK. Mohamed Akid is acquired from Wydad Casablanca and could be the number one between the sticks, as they’ve let Mohamed Boujad go to Mouloudia Oujda. Right before the season, they brought in Mohamed Berrabeh, former Morocco international and Wydad captain. He will bring experience and will join his younger brother, Abdelmoula, at the club.

But some players have left as well and the loss of Abdelhakim Bassine and Taoufik Safsafi will hurt. Bassine was one of the better full-backs in the league last season, despite picking up a bunch of cards and will represent Hassania Agadir this year. Safsafi was highly involved in their build-up play, but has been snatched up by FAR Rabat.

Fans of the club are optimistic and their pre-season has been good with solid results. But more importantly is the fact that manager Mostafa seems to have implented an exciting style of play, with high pressure defensively and lots of possession on the ball.

There is no doubt that RCOZ will have a tough task of staying up, two years after their historic promotion, but the good atmosphere around the club paired with a coach who knows what he wants, they will have every chance of delivering once again.

Prediction: 9th

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