|Full name||Moghreb Atlético Tetuán|
|Nickname(s)||Moghreb, El Atlético, Paloma Blanca, Rojiblancos|
|League||Botola, La Liga (formely)|
|Website||Club home page|
Moghreb Atlético Tetuán (Arabic: المغرب أتلتيكو تطوان; acronym MAT) is a Moroccan football club based in Tetouan. The club was founded in 1922 and used to compete in the Spanish leagues under the names Athletic Club Tetuàn (1922 -1947) and Club Atlético de Tetuàn (1947–1956) till 1956 when Morocco gained independence from Spain as the club made the transition to the Moroccan league after the club split in two forming Moghreb Atlético Tetuàn (Moroccan) and AD Ceuta (Spanish)
Foundation and first years (1922–1956)
In 1917, Tetouan saw the appearance of its first clubs of football, "Sporting of Tetuán" and "el Hispano-Marroquí" ("The Spanish-Moroccan"). One year later these two club, and a third one called "el Radio", merged and that gave the birth to the "Athletic Club Tetuán". The new club was established in 1922 by Basque Atletico Madrid fans who lived in Tetouan (Morocco). In the early days it was known as Athletic Club Tetuan—based on the Spanish spelling of the city. but after the Spanish Civil War and according to General Franco's demands (banning non-Spanish names) as Club Atlético Tetuan. That is why the team has always played in red and white stripes and blue shorts, just like the big brothers from Madrid they were supposed to emulate. Under Spanish Protectorate of Northern Morocco, Tetuán were a part of Spanish Liga for 33 years until independence was achieved in 1956. The highlight of that era was their surprising win of Spanish Segunda División (the southern group) in the 1950–51 season. and promotion to the Primera Division of 1951–52, and the club remain, to this very day, the only African team ever to play in a top division in Europe.
That was a season to remember. Tetuán's away form was dreadful—they lost 14 out of 15 games on their travels—but on home soil in Morocco they were a force to be reckoned with. Atlético were thrashed 4–1 in a rather weird "derby," and six more wins were achieved, while the mighty Real Madrid could only draw 3–3 on their visit to North Africa. Sadly that wasn't enough as Tetuán finished bottom of the table and were relegated, but such heritage has never been forgotten.
Moghreb Atlético Tetuán (1956–)
Following independence, the club split in two. While AD Ceuta FC, still under Spanish control, were the club's official Spanish successors, the Moroccan-based Moghreb Atlético Tetuán (Moghreb meaning Morocco, to signify independence from Spain) inherited the colours and the stadium and made the crest as close as possible to that of Atletico Madrid. Indeed, their fans have always supported Los Colchoneros—something of a rarity in a country that is mostly divided between Real and Barcelona.
Atletico Madrid's trophies were the main source of joy for Tetouan supporters throughout the years—their own team is rather small even by local Moroccan standards, having spent long spells in the second division—while their relationship was cemented in 2007 as some of Atlético Madrid's upper management visited Morocco to start an affiliation and establish a football school that would benefit both parties.
Resurgence in the Moroccan pyramid (2011– )
Tetouan really began to move up the footballing pyramid in July 2011, though, when little known coach Aziz El Amri was appointed. His mission was to save the team from relegation, but he took them to their first ever championship title in 2012—a feat even more remarkable when you take into account that some of the senior players went on strike over unpaid wages, and Tetouan were forced to use inexperienced home grown youngsters instead. On the final day, they needed just a draw at FUS Rabat and won 1–0 to seal the trophy. Around 30,000 fans travelled with the team—the largest away crowd in Moroccan football history—and the celebrations were something to behold, that was the beginning of a new era in Moroccan football, the first ever Professional season of the Moroccan league and the birth of a new force in Moroccan football.
In context, 2012–13 was relatively mediocre as the team lost some of its key players who left the club as they only managed to finish 5th. But in the following season Tetouan were back in the title race again, knowing that success would be especially important with a place in the 2014 Club World Cup at stake for the winners. By the end of May, a phenomenal prospect was on cards: Atletico Madrid had qualified for the Champions League final, while Tetouan were in pole position to win the Moroccan league. It was not to be. First, Moghreb Tetouan were thrashed 5–0 by Raja Casablanca in the big game on the penultimate day of the season, seemingly losing the crown. Then, on 24 May, Atletico Madrid went agonisingly close to lifting the trophy, only for Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid to equalize in the dying seconds and for city rivals to run away with the game in extra time. Tetouan fans were distraught, but just a few hours later, on 25 May, they celebrated wildly as Raja Casablanca sensationally lost to Olympic Safi on the final day, gifting the championship title to Tetouan.
The dream of facing Atletico Madrid was dead, but hopes of meeting "the other team from Madrid" were very much alive. In 2001, a friendly game had been scheduled between Moghreb Tetouan and Real Madrid to mark the 60th anniversary of that famous 3–3 draw in the Primera Division, only for the plans to be cancelled by Los Blancos due to some logistical problems, then again in 2012 but everything got cancelled again.
The 2014 Club World Cup and the end of El Amri's era
Their debut ended in disappointment after getting eliminated on the preliminary round as they went down on penalties to Auckland City, the side that has made more appearances in the competition than any other.
Due to Moghreb Tétouan's continuous poor performances in the Moroccan league (earning just two points from the last five fixtures before the Club World Cup) and against Auckland City FC, due mostly to poor decisions and bad strategies made by the manager, El Amri was sacked.
Sergio Lobera and African success (2015– )
On December 24, 2014 Sergio Lobera was appointed as the new Moghreb Atletico Tetouan head coach and successor of El Amri, joined by 2 Spaniards in the club's technical team Juanma Cruz as the goalkeeper coach and Manuel Sayabera as the Physical trainer and later joined by David Martin as the inferior categories' coach, it didn't take long for the players to adapt to Lobera's philosophy, displaying unprecedented maturity and self-confidence, the team was back on track and started winning again, thanks to Lobera's brilliant strategies and his emphasis on teamwork, the team managed to pull off a historic African Champions League campaign after getting through the preliminary round for the first time (the team failed to do so under El Amri) after defeating Club Olympique de Bamako, (3–2), Kano Pillars in the first round (5–2) and then Al Ahly (1(4) – 1(3)) in the second round therefore making it to the Groups Stage for the first ever for the club (and since 10 years for a Moroccan club)
In the Groups Stage Tetouan had a terrible start, in their first away game in Egypt against Smouha SC they had a 2 goals lead but conceded 3 goals in the last half-hour of the game therefore losing 3 – 2, the second game was a goalless tie against TP Mazembe at home soil, the third game ended with a 1 – 1 tie with Al-Hilal at home again however Tetouan managed to win an away game for the first time in Sudan, beating Al-Hilal in their home ground, It was the first time since the Sudani club loses in their home ground since 2011, (the score was 1 – 0) thus moving up from the last position to the 3rd, then to the 1st after beating Smouha SC 2 – 1 at home soil.
Traditionally the home kit features the iconic red and white stripe design accompanied by blue shorts and red socks, this combination has been used since 1947 and is still in use today, although sometimes blue socks are used instead. What's worth mentioning is that the club wore black socks instead at first (1922–1947). The club of course got its colours from its Spanish twin club Atlético Madrid. The away kit colours generally differs from one season to another but is usually black with white and red applications.
The kit has been made by many brands like Nike, Le Coq Sportif, King Sports among others, The current main shirt sponsor is Abroun, a company owned by the club's president, Abelmalek Abroun, while LG Electronics, Maroc Telecom and Radio Mars all have minor sponsorship on the shirt.
Whilst it is almost certain that football was played on the site of the Estadio de Varela from the turn of the 20th century, the land was not formally enclosed until 1913. Situated on the north bank of the River Martil, the stadium played host to a variety of sports thanks to the inclusion of a cinder athletics track. Rudimentary bleachers were added once Atlético started to play in Campeonato Hispano-Marroquí, whilst officials could watch from a rather ornate raised, open terrace. This wedge shaped construction was double sided, so that one could view races at the hippodrome that stood to the west of the stadium. Atlético's ascent to La Primera led to the stadium undergoing major redevelopment. An open stand with bench terracing was erected on the east side which was linked to semi circular end terraces. Club office and changing rooms were built in the south west corner and the pitch was access via an underground tunnel behind the southern goal. The stadium's main tribuna was built on the west side, and this featured a vaulted concrete cantilevered roof. However, it was only 75 metres in length and ran from the southern touchline, before seemingly losing interest and petering out just after the halfway line. With a capacity of 15,000, Varela suited Atlético just fine, and it also seemed to suit Moghreb Tétouan just fine, as little was done to the stadium for the next 50 years.
In the intervening years, the stadium was renamed the Stade Saniat Rmel and in 2007, the parched turf was replaced with an artificial surface. Work on the original terraces saw the capacity reduced to 10,000, but then in 2011, to mark the 60th anniversary of the original club's promotion to La Primera, the main tribuna underwent a major refurbishment. A new framework was erected at the rear of the stand to support the original, ageing concrete roof. Everything was given a coat of red, white & blue paint and new bucket seats were bolted to the concrete steps. After 50 years of achieving very little, Moghreb Tétouan won its first Moroccan championship in May 2012. As the city celebrated the club's first major honour, the Ultras paraded banners celebrating the club's Spanish heritage, saying "Siempre Los Matadores" (Matadors Forever).
The Club's president has stated many times before that a new bigger stadium was under way, as thanks to the club's success in recent years more supporters started attending matches and the current stadium's capacity wasn't enough. In 2015 the construction on the new stadium officially started, the club's president Abdelmalek Abroun has stated that the new stadium will be a part of the new sports city and will have a capacity of about 40,000 seats
- KAC Kenitra, one of the club's biggest rivalries, many incidents, where supporters lost their lives happened because of this long standing rivalry, the ultras also make chants dissing the rival club and supporters whenever the two clubs play.
- Raja Casablanca, a relatively new rivalry which started in the recent years and reached its peak during the 2013/2014 season, as both clubs were competing for the title, eventually won by Moghreb Tetouan.
The Northern Derbies
- IR Tanger, the club of the neighbouring city, Tangiers, is considered the club's biggest rival, their encounter, referred to as the northern derby is one of the most anticipated matches of the Moroccan league, due to its value and great importance among supporters.
- Chabab Rif Al Hoceima, another club from a neighbouring city, this time Al-Hoceima an anticipated derby, especially due to the fact that several players went from one club to another (in both senses) so it is usually a match where players play against their former club.
Moghreb Tetouan has 2 "ultras" fan groups, Los Matadores since 2005 and Siempre Paloma since 2006, both are based in Tetouan and even though they had many conflicts over the years they managed to unite and are now in good terms as they sit next to each other and work united and cooperatively as Fondo Norte.
Moghreb Tetouan's supporters are known to be some of the most loyal, dedicated, organized and civilised supporters in Morocco, they're also known for their unique chants mixing Arabic and Spanish, in 2012 they broke the record of the largest away crowd in Moroccan football history when more than 30.000 fans travelled with the team to Rabat to face FUS Rabat on the last day of the Moroccan championship, a match they won to earn their first title.
- 2011/2012, 2013/2014
- 1964/1965, 1993/1994, 1996/1997, 2004/2005.
- Group Stage: 2015
- 7th Place: 2014
- Runner-Up: 2013
- As of August 9, 2015
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Spanish Era (1922–1956)
Moroccan Era (1956 – )
- Mohamed Fakhir (2007)
- Abderrahim Taleb (2007–2009)
- Mohamed Fakhir (Jan 2010 – May 2010)
- Jean-François Jodar (May 2010 – Dec 2010)
- Aziz El Amri (July 2011 – Dec 2014)
- Sergio Lobera (Dec 2014 – )
- Tetuán y su Atlético by Julio Parres Aragonés (L'Hospitalet: el author, 1997).