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Morocco World Cup team arrives home to heroes' welcome

By AFP
World Cup Supporters light flares and cheer as Morocco's national football team travels through the capital Rabat.  By FADEL SENNA (AFP)
TUE, 20 DEC 2022 LISTEN
Supporters light flares and cheer as Morocco's national football team travels through the capital Rabat. By FADEL SENNA (AFP)

Tens of thousands of Moroccans thronged the capital on Tuesday to welcome home their national football team, the first Arab or African squad ever to reach the semi-final of a World Cup.

The team and their coach Walid Regragui waved from an open-topped bus as they were driven from the airport and around central Rabat, accompanied by dozens of police cars and motorbikes with flashing lights and wailing sirens.

The crowd cheered and some waved flares as fireworks crackled in the sky over the seaside capital.

"I'm so proud of our team. Who knows -- maybe next time they could win the cup," said Adam Najah, a 27-year-old waiter from the city of Meknes.

He said he had travelled over 150 kilometres (90 miles) to "experience this historic day" and "celebrate the beautiful story of Morocco at the World Cup".

Many supporters, clad in the team's kits and waving red flags, had waited hours to see their heroes.

The team was to be hosted by King Mohammed VI later on Tuesday evening.

isb-agr/par/lg

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