Raja Club Athletic Academy (Raja CA Academy or simply Raja Academy) is the training ground and academy headquarters of Moroccan football club Raja Club Athletic. The construction was eventually completed in 2021, having been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2022, Raja CA Academy hosted the first team first training and it officially opened its doors on 22 September 2022.

Raja Club Athletic Academy
أكاديمية الرجاء الرياضي
LocationBouskoura, Casablanca
Coordinates33°29′17″N 7°43′10″W / 33.4879806°N 7.7194149°W / 33.4879806; -7.7194149
OwnerRaja Club Athletic
TypeSports training facility
SurfaceGrass pitches (2)
Synthetic turf (6)
Opened22 September 2022
Construction cost$10 million
ArchitectRBM Architectes
Raja CA first team and youth teams

In addition to the first team facilities, it houses the club's academy structure that offers to its young footballers, in association with the Raja-Oasis Sports Complex, accommodation, education and a high-level football development.

Raja-Oasis Sports Complex was already one of the first centers to comply with international standards in Africa, and the first Moroccan academy to adopt the "sport-study" system that combine both football and education.[1][2] It was chosen by the technical direction of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation as the best club training center in 2021.

History edit

In December 2013, Raja CA took part in the FIFA Club World Cup for the second time. They overcome Auckland City, C.F Monterrey and Atlético Mineiro to qualify for the final, a stage never reached before by an Arab or North African team.[3][4][5]

Raja eventually lost the final to Bayern Munich, but were cheered by their supporters and the media.[6] Three days later, the team were decorated by Mohamed VI in the Royal Palace of Casablanca.[7] During his reception, the King of Morocco communicates to club president Mohamed Boudrika [fr] his intention to offer them a 7,5 hectares land in Bouskoura. In 24 December, the Committee of Land Price Determination set the price of the land at 50 dirhams/m2 (3,75 million dirhams). The King will purchase it for the club in order to build a football academy.[8] In the same day, the Urban Agency of Casablanca gave its approval for the construction's beginning.[9]

In early 2016, the Raja signed a partnership with the Ministry of Equipment, Transport and Logistics so the latter would take care of the academy's construction. The project was then entrusted to the Moroccan construction company Urbagec. Mohamed Reda Bennani from RBM Architects cabinet was also selected.[10][11] However, some administrative issues and the club's financial crisis delayed the construction.[12] On 3 June 2016, the construction began. A few months later, the club organized a formal ceremony with the presence of several personalities including Khalid Safir, Wali of Grand Casablanca and Faouzi Lekjaa, president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.[13][14] After, the club decided to edit the initial construction plans, by removing the hotel in order to increase the academy's area and number of beds.[15]

In March 2021, the construction were completed but the opening was constantly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[16] On 8 March 2022, Raja's first team completed their training in the academy for the first time.

On 22 September 2022, the academy was inaugurated in the presence of a hundred guests including Fouzi Lekjaa and the Wali of the Casablanca-Settat region, Said Ahmidouch. Aziz El Badraoui pointed out that Raja CA has one of the best sports facilities in Africa. He also announced the construction of two additional grass pitches with a cost of 18 million dirhams.[17]

On 21 October 2022, Frenchman Patrick Cordoba is appointed as head of training and director of the academy.[18] He had just qualify with Morocco U17 women's national team for the 2022 U-17 Women's World Cup which will take place in India.[19]

Facilities edit

Training center edit

The conference room

Raja CA Academy is located in the city of Bouskoura, about twenty kilometers south of Casablanca. The facilities of the academy are subdivided into three poles: the sports pole, the educational pole and the administrative pole. These buildings are interconnected with bridges that overlook the courtyard.[20]

The facilities were built for the first team and the youth teams competing in their respective championships (U17, U19, U21). The younger categories are trained at the Raja-Oasis Sports Complex.[21] The academy is equipped with a natural grass pitch, a new generation synthetic turf and four mini-football pitches for younger players. The sports center has also a gym, a rehabilitation room, a medical center and a restaurant. Two additional pitches will be added.

On 23 September 2023, the club announced the inauguration of a hotel which will accommodate the first team during their preparation camps.[22]

The Academy edit

Since Abdelkader Jalal [fr], a former Raja player between 1949 and 1954 and the club's main head of player development for almost 40 years, Raja has generally relied on its former players to coach youth teams, to conserve the club's football style.[23]

Raja CA's youth teams are generally dominant in their national championships like in the 2014–15 season, when both U17 and U19 teams were crowned national champions. The reserve team (U21) no longer compete with their peers since their promotion to the D5 Championship (North-West group) in 2019. They finished in second position twice in a row, in 2019-20 and 2020–21 and came close to promotion to D4 under the management of Bouchaib El Moubarki.[24][25]

The player development centre of Raja-Oasis Sports Complex, was one of the first in the Maghreb that matched with international standards, and the first to adopt the "sport-study" system in Morocco.[26][27] In 2021, it was chosen by the technical direction of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation as the best club training center in 2021.[28][29] Much of the structure of the Oasis Complex has been relocated and adapted to the academy. To apply the club's strategy, the academy has 45 rooms spread over 4 buildings. Building A is dedicated to first team players, while buildings B, C and D are for U17, U19 and U21 teams respectively. There are also ten bedrooms for the staff.[30][31] In February 2023, the center was hosting 384 young footballers of all ages, including 2 Ivorians and 1 Guinean.[32]

Sport and study edit

Raja-Oasis Sports Complex in Oasis

In 1999, Raja was the first Moroccan club to offer to its young players, chosen after selection, a sporting and educational program in Raja-Oasis Sports Complex. This education was provided by the Office for Skills Training and the Promotion of Work [fr] (OFPPT) thanks to a partnership with the club. The first generation formed consisted of 26 selected players, aged between 16 and 17. They had six hours of lessons and two hours of training a day. During the school holidays, they had to follow two training sessions a day.[33]

In 2018, several agreements were signed with specialized establishments to ensure a quality school and sports project for the young athletes. Therefore, they benefit from a special status that allows them to practice football with flexible class schedule. They also benefit from permanent medical monitoring.[34]

Staff edit

Director of academy   Hamza Sairi[35]
Sporting director   Mohamed Madih[36]
Head of Player Development   Hicham Aboucherouane

Budget edit

At the beginning of construction, the expected cost (without the land cost) was estimated at 100 million dirhams.

Raja CA Academy cost breakdown[37]
Structure Budget

(millions of dirhams)

Royal Moroccan Football Federation 50 MDH 50%
Casablanca-Settat's regional council 20 MDH 20%
Direction générale des collectivités locales 20 MDH 20%
Raja Club Athletic 10 MDH 10%

Notes edit

References edit

  1. ^ "مراكز تكوين اللاعبين في المغرب". جريدة العلم (in Arabic). 2013. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  2. ^ "مركز التكوين التابع للرجاء البيضاوي إمكانيات مهمة عجزت عن تحصين المواهب ضد أموال قطر". جريدة العلم (in Arabic). 12 February 2011. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  3. ^ "Raja Casablanca 3 Atletico Mineiro 1". BBC Sport. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  4. ^ "El Raja Casablanca deja a Ronaldinho sin final del Mundialito" (in Spanish). ABC. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Raja Casablanca upset Mineiro – Football". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  6. ^ "CdM des Clubs Maroc 2013: Raja Casablanca avec les Grands!" (in French). La Nouvelle Tribune. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Consécration royale pour le Raja". fr.le360.ma. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  8. ^ "هبة ملكية للرجاء بـ 350 مليونا | جريدة الصباح". assabah.ma (in Arabic). 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  9. ^ Le360. "هبة ملكية لفريق الرجاء عبارة عن أرض من 7 هكتارات". Le360.ma (in Arabic). Retrieved 2021-09-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ MATIN, LE. "Le Matin - La société Urbagec retenue pour la construction de l'académie du club". Le Matin. Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  11. ^ "L'ACADEMIE DU RAJA CLUB ATHLETIC À CASABLANCA". Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  12. ^ "Académie du Raja: un projet qui n'est plus prioritaire ?". Le360 Sport. Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  13. ^ "فيديو .. انطلاق أشغال بناء أكاديمية الرجاء". فبراير.كوم | موقع مغربي إخباري شامل يتجدد على مدار الساعة. 2016-06-04. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  14. ^ "Le Raja lancera officiellement les travaux de son académie le 23 novembre". Le360 Sport (in French). Retrieved 2021-09-12.
  15. ^ "» تصميم جديد لأكاديمية الرجاء الرياضي" (in Arabic). Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  16. ^ "On connaît la date d'ouverture de l'académie du Raja". Le360 Sport. Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  17. ^ سبورتايم (2022-09-22). "فيديو.. البدراوي: منحة الجامعة لتجهيز ملاعب الوازيس وإضافة ملعبين ستمكنني من رفع عدد المواهب في الرجاء". Sportime Tv (in Arabic). Retrieved 2022-09-23.
  18. ^ "Le Catalan Patrick Cordoba rebondit au Raja Casablanca, plus grand club marocain". lindependant.fr (in French). Retrieved 2023-02-10.
  19. ^ Fadwa El Fassas (4 June 2022). "La sélection marocaine féminine U17 se qualifie pour la Coupe du Monde". africafootunited.com. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  20. ^ "L'académie du Raja verra le jour en 2020". Le360 Sport. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  21. ^ "أكاديمية الرجاء سترى النور قريبا". برلمان.كوم (in Arabic). 2020-06-08. Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  22. ^ "https://twitter.com/RCAofficiel/status/1705722645424074991". X (formerly Twitter). Retrieved 2023-09-24. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  23. ^ ""عبد القادر جلال" مربي الأجيال الذي ساهم بالغالي والنفيس للنهوض بالكرة الوطنية". Le7tv.ma (in Arabic). 2020-08-27. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  24. ^ "كووورة: الموقع العربي الرياضي الأول". www.kooora.com. Retrieved 2021-09-12.
  25. ^ "كووورة: الموقع العربي الرياضي الأول". www.kooora.com. Retrieved 2021-09-12.
  26. ^ "مراكز تكوين اللاعبين في المغرب". جريدة العلم (in Arabic). 2013. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  27. ^ "مركز التكوين التابع للرجاء البيضاوي إمكانيات مهمة عجزت عن تحصين المواهب ضد أموال قطر". جريدة العلم (in Arabic). 12 February 2011. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  28. ^ "تصنيف مركز تكوين فريق الرجاء الأفضل في المغرب". casa24.ma (in Arabic). Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  29. ^ "الجامعة تصنف مركز تكوين الرجاء الأفضل بالمغرب". hesport.com (in Arabic). 21 April 2021. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  30. ^ Wahili, Djimet Wiche. "L'Académie du Raja Club Athletic au Maroc : des infrastructures de pointe pour former les futurs champions". Alwihda Info - Actualités TCHAD, Afrique, International (in French). Retrieved 2023-02-10.
  31. ^ "Le Raja cherche un Directeur de formation... quelles seront ses marges?". LesEco.ma (in French). 2019-12-25. Retrieved 2021-09-12.
  32. ^ "Maroc : Le Raja de Casablanca résolument investit dans la formation avec sa nouvelle académie". Actualite.cd (in French). 2023-02-10. Retrieved 2023-02-10.
  33. ^ "Centre de formation du Raja : Un exemple à suivre". 1999. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  34. ^ "Le centre de formation du Raja de Casablanca reprend avec beaucoup d'ambition". LesEco.ma. 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  35. ^ Wahili, Djimet Wiche. "L'Académie du Raja Club Athletic au Maroc : des infrastructures de pointe pour former les futurs champions". Alwihda Info - Actualités TCHAD, Afrique, International (in French). Retrieved 2023-02-10.
  36. ^ "الرجاء يستقر على تعيين محمد مديح مديرا رياضيا للفريق". www.elbotola.com (in Arabic). Retrieved 2023-09-10.
  37. ^ Lavieeco. "L'académie du Raja Club Athletic verra le jour fin 2018 - La Vie éco". www.lavieeco.com/. Retrieved 2021-09-11.

External links edit