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Abderrahmane Mahjoub

Personal information
Playing positionMidfielder

     Home | Football | Abderrahmane Mahjoub

Abderrahmane Mahjoub or Abderrahmane Belmahjoub (April 25, 1929 August 31, 2011) was a French and Moroccan international football (soccer) midfielder.

Known as Prince du Parc (Prince of the Park) in his playing days for his dominant control of the midfield, was one of the best Arab players of his generation, and one of the few who graced the sports fields of Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.

Born in Casablanca, the young Mahjoub began playing on the streets of his home city with his brother Mohamed, who later played for Olympique Marseille in the late 1940s. Abderrahmane started his career with the Union Sportive Athlétique Casablanca in 1948, where he spent three seasons before moving to Europe to join RC Paris of the French first division, but it was his performances for OGC Nice in 1953 that caught the eye of French selectors making his international debut against Luxembourg in a World Cup Qualifier. He stepped out at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris in the blue of France alongside his Nice teammate Moroccan-born Just Fontaine. The midfielder was an instant success on his first appearance, assisting in the first goal in a 8-0 rout in only the second minute of the game, Mahjoub went onto play six other occasions for France including a 3-2 win over Mexico at the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland along with another Arab, Algerian Abdelaziz Bentifour.

After a season with Nice, where he was part of a French Cup winning side beating Larbi Ben Barek’s Olympique Marseille in the final, he rejoined Racing Club spending six successful seasons at the Paris club, reaching high as third place in the French first division in two consecutive seasons in 1958 and 1959. At the age 31, the club thought the Moroccan’s best years were behind him, and let him go but he proved all his critics wrong by guiding SO Montpellier to the 1961 French Second Division title, and promotion to the top flight. Racing Club eventually bought back the player for a final season in 1963, before he returned to play for Wydad Casablanca, where he was later coach.

One of the greatest moments in his career came in a memorable 1962 World Cup Qualifier; when Abderrahman captained his native country Morocco against the star-studded Spanish national team of Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, and Francisco Gento, before stepping onto the pitch he told his teammates to look at the flags of the two nations, planted in the ground at the same height “I want you to be like these flags, on the same level as the Spaniards”. Spain knocked out the Moroccan side but everyone at the time admired the Moroccan side for their style of play and how they had humbled the Spaniards. Abderrahman would later go onto coach the Moroccan national team.

In 2006, he was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.

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