History of Wydad

The Wydad Athletic Club, also known under the names Wydad or WAC, is one of the most emblematic clubs of Morocco. Founded in 1937 in Casablanca, the club is renowned for its passion, resilience, and achievements.

Nicknamed “Le Wydad”, the club is recognized for its colors: red and white. Home matches are held at the Mohamed V Stadium, also called the Honor Stadium or Donor, a legendary arena that has witnessed many of the club’s feats.

The Wydad Athletic Club was created by a group of intellectuals and young resistants during the French occupation of Morocco in 1937, notably the late Mohamed Benjelloun. It first began with a water-polo team before forming its football section in 1939, with the support of Père Jégo.

The club quickly climbed the ranks by reaching the first division of the Moroccan championship in 1942, and won its first major trophy in 1948, which it held onto for four years. During this period, Wydad also dominated Maghreb football by winning three North African Championships, two North African Super Cups, and one North African Cup.

Mohamed Benjelloun Touimi
Mohamed Benjelloun - Founder and first president of Wydad
Team Wydad in its first season

In 1956, Morocco gained its independence, and Wydad became the first club registered with the Royal Moroccan Football Federation with the registration number: 1. The club even won the Independence Cup by defeating FC Maghreb Aksa in Tangier with a goal from Abdelhak Kadmiri on December 9, 1956.

Until 1969, Wydad continued its journey by winning eight championships, but never managed to capture the Throne Cup despite playing in four finals. One of them ended in a controversial decision in 1957, where the cup was awarded to Mouloudia of Oujda on the pretext that they scored first, even though the match ended in a 1-1 draw. According to the rules in place at the time, the match should have been replayed.

In the 1969/1970 edition of the Cup, Wydad reached the final to face Renaissance of Settat, after defeating Hassania of Agadir, Difaa Hassani El Jadidi, and Maghreb Fassi in the semi-final. The semi-final was tightly contested, with an initial 1-1 draw necessitating a rematch. Wydad qualified by winning the second match with a score of 1-0.

This year, Wydad decided to win the title especially the match was played in front of the supporters of Wydad at the Stade d’Honneur and with the presence of King Hassan II.

The year of the final, Wydad was determined to win the title, especially by playing in front of his fervent supporters at the Stade d’Honneur and in the presence of King Hassan II. After 90 minutes of play, an explosion of joy rang out

Since then, the Wydad Athletic Club has managed to win eight more Throne Cups, bringing its total to nine wins but since 2001, Wydad has not won this trophy, despite three contested finals, two of which were lost on penalties.

After winning numerous championships, national cups and Maghreb competitions, the ambitions of Wydad, its management and its supporters continued to grow. The team began organizing friendly matches against major clubs around the world. Wydad also played against great teams in the various editions of the Mohamed V Cup.

In his first match in this cup, Wydad faced Real Madrid, against which he lost with difficulty on the score of 2-0. Wydad also faced teams such as Slovan Bratislava, Bayern Munich, São Paulo, Aguila, Anderlecht, Sporting de Lisbon, the Romanian national team, Everton and Monaco. Wydad also faced African and Moroccan teams such as Hafia Conakry, AS FAR, ASC Jeanne d’Arc de Dakar and Canon Yaoundé, against which they won the final in 1979.

Larbi Aherdane carrying the Mohammed V Cup trophy in 1979
Fakhreddine Rajhi lifting the African Cup of Champions Clubs
Wydad is the only team outside of Latin America and Europe to have won the Mohamed V Cup title, which disappeared in 1989, throughout its history. Between 1989 and 1993, Wydad enjoyed its first period of great success. During this period, the club won three championships, a Throne Cup, an Arab Champions League and an Arab Super Cup, but especially its first African Champions League, won by beating Hilal of Sudan 2-0 in Casablanca in the return match, after a 0-0 draw at Omdourman. These victories crowned the long-term efforts of the late Abderrazak Mekouar, president of Wydad from 1972 to 1993, who revolutionized the management of the club and influenced the whole of Moroccan football. Among the key measures taken by President Mekouar was the introduction of player pay, making Wydad the first Moroccan team to adopt this practice. At the end of the 1993 season, Wydad’s iconic president and several players left the club, either to play abroad, to retire, or to join other Moroccan teams.

Wydad has entered a period of renewal, but also of doubt. Meanwhile, Raja Casablanca, another team in the city, took advantage of these uncertainties to dominate the championship between 1996 and 2001, winning its second and third African Champions League in 1997 and 1999, the latter being the last edition won by the Raja.

During this period of Raja rule, Wydad won four Throne Cups, most recently in 2001. Thanks to this victory, Wydad was able to participate in the African Cup of Cup Winners (precursor of the African Confederation Cup), which it won by beating Asante Kotoko in the final thanks to the criterion of the away goal. Victory 1-0 on the way to Casablanca and defeat 2-1 in Kumasi, Ghana.

Then, Wydad experienced a period of doubt and instability between 2003 and 2014, during which the club won its first championship in 13 years during the 2005-2006 season. It is also during this season that the Ultras Winners were created and became the best ultras in the world according to different rankings, thus becoming major players of the club, especially in Casablanca. Wydad won the championship again in 2010, in intense suspense, as they had to wait until the 30th and last day to take first place, after their victory in Casablanca against FUS Rabat and the defeat of Raja Rabat against AS FAR.

Left Abdelilah Akram, former president of Wydad and right his successor Said Naciri, current president and most successful president in the history of the Club

In 2014, Said Naciri was elected as the new president, succeeding Abdelilah Akram, who had to step down following the boycott of Wydad supporters, who criticized his management of the club.

President Said Naciri allowed the club to regain stability thanks to an authoritarian but effective management. His strategy quickly paid off, and Wydad has once again become a major African club that is attracting attention around the world. Since 2015, Wydad has won the championship five times and finished worst in second place. The club also distinguished itself by winning two African Champions League, the first under the direction of Houcine Ammouta and the second with Oualid Regragui, who then joined the Moroccan national team as a coach and managed to reach the semi-finals in FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

To be continued…

In memory of