In Morocco, the history of Raja Club Athletic begins in the mid-twentieth century in the famous district of Derb Sultan, known for being the cradle of resistance at that time, when a group of Moroccan nationalists and trade unionists including Mohamed Naoui, the first coach of the team and Mohamed Maâti Bouabid, future Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, perceive football as an instrument of emancipation and resistance against the colonizer and seek to register among the sports clubs of Casablanca. On March 20, 1949, they finally decided to found their club: Raja Club Athletic.

In 1950, Raja, made up exclusively of Moroccan players, began its journey from the bottom of the national football structure and topped the 4th division (Chaouia-Nord Group). The team will then evolve in the 3rd division for a single season finishing second in the ranking at the end of the 1951-1952 season. Raja thus succeeded in its entry into the Pre-Honor Division (D2), where it evolved for three seasons before sports competitions were boycotted and stopped in Morocco in 1955-1956. In 1956, Raja dominated the playoffs and became one of the founding clubs of the championship under the aegis of the newly established Royal Moroccan Football Federation, playing the inaugural 1956-1957 season which began on November 15, 1956. Since then, the club has not left the elite of Moroccan football, which is a record.

After the usurped championship of 1960, Raja struggled to recover and lost two Throne Cup finals in 1965 and 1968. The team then won its first two trophies (1974 and 1977) and occupied the championship podium for five consecutive years between 1972 and 1977, the coronation turned its back on it each time. These years are marked by big names such as Abdelmajid Dolmy, Petchou, Houmane Jarir, and Abdellatif Beggar. The following decade was a rollercoaster but finally culminated in the first championship, quickly followed by the 1989 African Cup of Champions Clubs.

The 1990s established Raja’s supremacy at the national level, winning six consecutive championships and at the continental level with titles in the Champions League, African Super Cup, and Afro-Asian Cup. In 2000, Raja was the first Arab and African team to qualify for the Club World Cup. This prosperous period is associated with Mustapha Moustawdae, Abdellatif Jrindou, Mustapha Khalif, or Mustapha Chadli. The 2000s were marked by sporting instability caused by player sales to Europe or the Gulf and repeated changes of coaches. Nevertheless, the club won several national titles, the CAF Cup in 2003, the Arab Champions League in 2006, and lost a Champions League final in 2002. After the 2013 Club World Cup final, Mohamed Boudrika’s mismanagement dragged Raja into a deep financial crisis and caused him setbacks in the league and Champions League. Said Hasbane’s successor did not improve the club’s situation and yielded to popular pressure by resigning in 2018. After the election of Jawad Ziyat, the club pulled its head out of the water financially and won its first African title in fifteen years and its first championship in seven years.

The club has been based at the Raja-Oasis Sports Complex since 1957 and has been training in the Raja CA Academy since 2022. The Greens’ matches have been played at the Mohammed V Stadium since its inauguration in 1955. Aziz El Badraoui has chaired the club since June 16, 2022. He succeeds Anis Mahfoud, who resigned on May 17, 2022, following intense pressure from fans and poor sporting choices.

On June 16, 2022, after the resignation of Anis Mahfoud, Aziz El Badraoui was unanimously elected president and promised a “new era.” A dozen players leave the club after the end of their contracts, and fifteen join under the leadership of new coach Faouzi Benzarti. Following a false start in the league (no win in three games), he resigned and was replaced by his compatriot Mondher Kebaier on September 24. He recorded the first victory of the season on the road against ASN Nigelec in the Champions League (0-2).

Father Jégo instilled in Wydad a European style (English), made of rigor and efficiency, based on tactics and physicality around a top striker. The coach will change his tune with the Raja; he also says that “the physiological capacities of Moroccans are closer to those of South Americans than Europeans. It is, therefore, more logical to draw inspiration from it.” More than titles, he had offered the Greens and the public something more precious: the Rajaoui game.

The Rajaoui game is a collective style made of short and fast passes. A football turned towards the spectacle, sometimes even to the detriment of the results, giving pride of place to the players’ technical qualities, hence its nickname Raja L’fraja (The Raja of the show). The Raja distinguished himself with an attractive game that appealed to the public, although he had to wait 25 years to see their team win its first title in 1974. Players must develop an elegant and creative game, supporters do not come to see defensive football but a game turned towards the attack.

Over time, the club’s popularity grew in Africa, mainly in North African and Arab countries. Then around the world, when 40,000 Brazilian fans admired the style of the Moroccan team. and encouraged him against Real Madrid CF at the Morumbi Stadium in São Paulo during the 2000 Club World Cup, these performances are noticed by many European clubs who begin to transfer players from Raja (like Youssef Rossi to Stade Rennais, Abdelilah Fahmi to Lille OSC, Talal El Karkouri to Paris SG, and Youssef Safri in Coventry City).

The Raja CA logo features four golden stars. The first three (at the bottom of the logo) symbolize the three Champions League titles, while the fourth (the largest at the top) was added in 2011 after Raja’s tenth league title.

Hamza SAIRI, Director General of RAJA CLUB ATHLETIC

The RAJA Football Academy of Casablanca has the elite or the first team. The 384 young people distributed in the national teams that feed the national selection, and to these are added 600 young people from 6 to 13 years old enrolled in leisure football schools, according to Hamza Sairi, General Manager of the RAJA Sports Complex of Casablanca.

“The RAJA Football Academy of Casablanca is a jewel offered by King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, in 2013 when RAJA Casablanca had just played the final of the Club World Cup against Bayern Munich in Germany. We had just achieved a feat that made our club known. The objective has been to create several football academies in Morocco, Africa, and the world, to share our experience and our performances in football, but also to make tournaments in Morocco and Africa to benefit all our achievements, “he told a hundred African journalists on tour in Morocco to cover the final of the Club World Cup and to appreciate the high quality of Moroccan infrastructure football that expects to organize the CAN 2025.

He added that the Oasis Training Center also takes care of the regional and the little ones, including the girls. The Academy of Casablanca houses 25 young people who live outside Casablanca. This allows them to benefit from training before and in the afternoon. The goal is to expand the space to house more young people. The center of RAJA houses young people who play in the national league and belong to the four categories: Under 15: the minimal; Under 17: Cadets; Under 19: juniors; and Under 21: Hopes. The first team’s training is done in the Center of Casablanca, which has four fields, two of natural grass and two other of synthetic turf. A series of different plots of land are under construction.

“It was in November 2022 that this Academy was inaugurated. The Ministry of Equipment and Transport sold the infrastructure in 2019. The cost of construction is estimated at 8 million dirhams (DH). The maintenance amounts to 6 million DH for these last two, provided by the FRMF (Royal Moroccan Football Federation). The area of the Centre is 7 hectares.

By visiting the premises of the RAJA Academy of Casablanca, journalists could appreciate the press conference rooms, courses, meetings, physiotherapy and massage, showers, bedrooms, and spaces of the medical staff.

It should be noted that the most recent current international players have come out of the RAJA Academy of Casablanca, including Asdeno Onahi, who went to the Qatar World Cup and signed with Olympique de Marseilles (OM); Jawadi Eliamik, who plays in Liga A; our former captain Baden Benouni who now plays in Qatar. All of them make RAJA shine in the world.