Botola, News

Botola 18/19: Can Mohamed Fakhir bring success back again to The Royal Army?

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 FAR Rabat.

Full name: Association Sportive des Forces Armées Royales (FAR)
Founded: 1958
Stadium: Stade Moulay Abdellah (50,000)
Manager: Mohamed Fakhir
Position last season: 8th

It’s been more than 10 years since FAR Rabat last won the Moroccan league. Their fans are getting impatient and the club’s leaders are expecting success to come this season, in their 60-year anniversary. Last season was another mediocre one for the capital club, where Abderrazak Khairi replaced Aziz El Amri halfway through the season.

But the Moroccan national team legend grew annoyed with both fans and the board, and resigned after the season, where they finished 8th. Now Mohamed Fakhir, the managerial icon, is back on the sidelines after last managing Raja Casablanca. He has won no less than five league titles with three different clubs and brought the CAF Confederations Cup trophy to FAR when he was there in 2005. Question is if he can achieve something similar this time around. Cause where the football is progressing and developing, Fakhir is standing firm to his philosophy.

There has been some activity on the transfer market, where Hamza El Moussaoui (MAT), Taoufik Safsafi (RCOZ), Hicham Marchad (CAK), Abdelouahed Chakhsi (MAT), Ismail Belmaalam (RCA) were brought in early. In addition, they’ve secured Abdelghani Mouaoui from the UAE, who was great last time he played in Morocco, and Heritier Luvumbu from the Belgian 2nd division. But more importantly, Hamza Khabba is back at the club following his loan spell with Olympique Safi. The 22-year-old has proved to be a great goalscorer and will be important for The Royal Army this season.

We still have some doubts about Fakhir and his team though. Some of the signings have already been placed on the transfer list again, like Safsafi who was deemed not good enough shortly after arriving. Moves like this will surely have an effect on the dressing room. It was also a lot of confusion in pre-season, with the training camp being moved from country to country and ended up in nothing. And just how good is their squad?

Ibrahim Bezghoudi and Youssef Kaddioui are not getting any younger and they are heavily dependent on Khabba to deliver from the get-go. The defense were far from convincing last season and Fakhir has a lot of work to do in that department. Hopefully for FAR, Belmaalam can come in and give them some structure and leadership.

The appointment of Fakhir is understandable as FAR have had success with him previously, but is he the right man to take them forward? We’re not sure and predict another underwhelming season.

Prediction: 7th

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