Moghreb Tétouan, the only African team to have played in La Liga

This post is also available in: Italiano

A story that has led this small Moroccan club from Tétouan to earn a place of honor in the history of football. Founded by Basque fans of Atletico Madrid, it is probably the only club in the country to maintain such strong relations with the Spaniards.

Athletic Club Tétouane

The club was founded in 1922 by Basque Atletico Madrid fans who had found themselves studying in the Moroccan city of Tétouane, at the time under Spain. Right from the start the social colors of the Madrid team were adopted to underline their lineage and keep away annoying government measures. Under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, in fact, it was impossible to show non-Spanish names or effigies and this led the club to resemble more and more the team it was inspired by.

Tétouan
The original team crest

The little ruse worked and the team slowly moved on to the great success for which they are remembered.

Moroccans in La Liga

It was in the 1951-1952 season that the historic feat was accomplished. The club had always been enrolled in the Spanish federation, but never managed to shine in a convincing way and had now stabilized in the lower leagues of the country. In 1951, however, he managed to overcome the difficult obstacle of the Segunda Division, thus managing to play his cards in La Liga, first and only time for a non-Spanish team.

Tétouan
The historic formation that played La Liga

The season ended with a poor last place but the club managed to make a decent figure in the home games. The away matches of the time in fact prevented the Moroccan players from getting adequate rest before the matches and in fact the club lost them all but at home even managed to equalize with the great Real Madrid.

Moghreb Tétouan

With Moroccan independence, the club was forced to change its name to Moghreb Tétuan and to leave La Liga forever, thus settling permanently in Botola, the local league. This created a huge crisis in the club and in the city historically linked more to the Latin world than to the Arab one. The team had to restart from the lower leagues and only in 2012 will it be able to win the first national championship.

Tétouan
The city of Tétouan

Even today, almost 100 years after its foundation, there is a very strong link between Atletico Madrid and the small Moroccan team. The Spanish club in fact sent some senior managers in 2007 to form football schools and a partnership program between the two teams. A beautiful memory that never dies.

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