Lamnawar: Raja can go all the way

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With three CAF Champions League titles to their name, Raja Club Athletic is no doubt one of the biggest clubs in Africa, with a popularity that has reached all over the world since their appearance at the maiden FIFA Clubs World Cup in 2000, in Brazil.

They are also famed for their vociferous and emblematic supporters, who are always behind the team through thick and thin.

One of such true dyed-in-the-wool followers o the Green Eagles is Yacine Lamnawar.

As a child, Lamwanar’s mom nicknamed him ‘Oueld Mo’, a former Raja player, who the former adores. And that was the genesis of his love for club.

"I started by following the exploits of Bouaza Oueld Mo and other players. At primary school, I used to hear some of my schoolmates sing Raja songs, and I was energized anytime I heard the tunes.

“With time, my colour for clothes became green. I wanted to wear only clothes in Green. Over time, my family accepted and welcomed my attachment and love for Raja,” 36-year old Lamnawar told CAFOnline.com.

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Raja is an important part of Lamnawar’s life. His source of happiness is heavily influenced by the Green Eagles just as his sadness, occasioned by losses and heartbreaking results.

His social media pages are flooded with photos of him in Raja colours at the stadium and other social events.

A proud Raja membership holder, he books his tickets for games ahead of the season to ensure that he can catch a glimpse of his dear club in every competition on the local scene, continental games amongst others.

Lamnawar recalls the Green Eagles participation in the novel FIFA Club World Cup in 2000, which saw them lock horns with global giants Real Madrid (Spain), Corinthians (Brazil) and Al Nassr (Saudi Arabia).

Prior to that, Raja edged Tunisia’s Esperance 4-3 on penalties after 0-0 tie on aggregate to win the CAF Champions League 1999, to book their ticket to Brazil for the competition that features champions of the premier club competitions from all confederations.

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"How can I forget our performance in the 1999 Champions league competition. And the match against Corinthians at the FIFA Club World Cup, where their fans gave Raja a standing ovation for our style of play.

“Also, the 2013 FIFA Clubs World Cup here (in Morocco) when we reached the final against German giants Bayern Munich. These are moments I will savour for the rest of my life.”

His favourite players include Abdelmajid Dolmi, Salahdine Bassir, Mustapha Moustaoudia and Omar Nejarryi.

Twenty-one (21) years after their last triumph in the premier continental club championship, Lamnawar is upbeat the Green Eagles can soar to the top of the continent four a fourth time.

After clinching the Moroccan league title on Sunday, their first since 2013, Raja face Egyptian giants Zamalek in the first leg of the semi-final on 18 October 2020 at the Mohammed V Complex in Casablanca.