Rabat, Morocco. In a bid to scout, generate and develop the talents of players, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, in collaboration with the Morocco Football Federation and stakeholders, has built a state-of -the art football academy in Sale, Morocco.
To reach the center owned by the Morocco Football Federation is just a 15-to-20 minute drive from Rabat as until the completion of its construction, the academy had eaten 62 million Euros (Sh159, billions). The centre, one of the biggest in the world, covers 30 hectares and has modern training facilities.
The Centre Director, Hassan Kharbouch, said the concept of establishing the facility originated from King Mohammed VI, who wanted to see his nation became the number one in Africa.
Kharbouch said good advice and patriotism to make the nation well developed in sports was the key factor for the centre’s construction that started in 2016 and completed last year.
He said the project was triggered by the lack of sports facilities and a shortage of talented footballers in the country. In that case, the construction of a football academy was planned to promote sports in Morocco and produce the next generation of footballers.
Kharbouch said they had joint ideas from various professionals including architects, sports technicians, physicians, land planners and nutrition experts about how the center should look like.
He said various professionals worked for not less than six months to complete the project plan before its approval.
“It was not an easy job as we had to work day and night to get the final plan. Every expert had time to review it before being approved. So, what has been done and we witness today is the product of Moroccans,
“Financing, material, manpower and everything was done by Moroccans. This promotes our country. We managed and we are now celebrating our facility.
We are very proud of it as we did not want to hire abroad companies to construct the facility,” said Kharbouch.
The complex has four buildings equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in line with the world soccer governing body (Fifa)’s standards. Apart from a Five Star hotel, there are four buildings, whereby each caters for a specific function like lodging, education, a medical facility, and a restaurant and a landscape for the relaxation of young footballers. There are a total of 400 beds as an accommodation for hundreds of people.
The centre has also four natural grass football fields; three artificial turf football fields; a covered football pitch; a hybrid football field; a re-training room that can host Futsal matches; and an outdoor Olympic-sized pool; two tennis courts, and a beach soccer field.
Main stadium with natural grass
The stadium is located at the main block that comprises technical rooms for coaches and relaxation areas consisting various sports like a pool-table and others.
The block also has a gym, a swimming pool, sauna, a medical room, players’ and coachs’ bedrooms, a conference hall, players’ and coaches’ lounge, whereby a coach can make a match analysis via a special television program and others. The facilities in the main block are also found in other three buildings.
The stadium is located just after the main stadium. The stadium has been constructed to counter climate change such as rainy and summer seasons.
Kharbouch said if it is very hot, the players are moved to the indoor stadium to train. It is also done during the rainy season. He said the venue is also used for coaching and refereeing clinics.
Kharbouch said the stadium is mixed with both natural and artificial grass. He said the grass is of high quality with the best comfortability for players during training and matches.
Apart from that, the centre has a Futsal stadium, tennis court, swimming pool, beach soccer ground and many others.
Rehabilitation swimming pool
The swimming the pool has been constructed for treatment purposes. Inside the pool there are exercise bikes for players with leg injuries.
Players with injured ribs and other upper parts of the body like hands will have to swim so that physicians can recognize the extent of injuries.
Cryotherapy, sometimes known as cold therapy, is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy. Cryotherapy may be used to treat a variety of tissue lesions.
Cryotherapy is used in an effort to relieve muscle pain, sprains and swelling after soft tissue damage or surgery. It can be a range of treatments from the application of ice packs or immersion in ice baths (generally known as cold therapy), to the use of cold chambers.
There are also a medical unit for stress testing, dentistry, ophthalmology, trauma, psychology, podiatry, nutritional medicine, radiology, ultrasound, electrotherapy and bone densitometry, in addition an emergency mobile medical unit.
The school was constructed following the guidelines of a sport-study curriculum. It offers a three-level program for students with the first level, being a preparatory stage to help them adjust. The school encompasses 10 classrooms, along with a language and a computer science classroom.
The teaching programme offered by the academy is supported by the ministry of education. So far, there are 120 students-athletes who are studying in school. Among them, 60 are girls and 60 boys.