Monday, 28 November 2016


Our friend has just been elected onto the committee for the Taroudant handball team. On hearing that we had never seen a game he invited us to come and watch their next match. 
Hand ball is arranged with on small national professional league and then a number of regional leagues. Taroudant plays in the first division of the regional league and are quite successful. Last year in the Moroccan Cup (a similar idea to the FA Cup) they were only eliminated in the semi-finals, meaning that they had beaten some of the professional teams to get there..They have few resources and there is no indoor stadium in Taroudant so all their matches have to be played in Agadir. There are plans to build a stadium in Taroudant which will greatly help them with both matches and practice but it is still in the planning stage.

The manager/coach is the games-master from the High School and the team seems largely to consist of staff and former students from the school. To drive to Agadir, play a match, grab some lunch and drive back takes up all of Sunday the only day off in the week so it is quite a commitment.

The rules seem quite simple. Each side has a squad of up to 14 but can only have 7 players on the pitch. Substitutions are allowed at any time. there is a small football type goal with a wide circle marked round it.and a dedicated goal-keeper. Goals are scored by throwing the ball into the goal from outside the circle. As in netball you can take only 3 steps with the ball but can take another if you bounce it; maximum 3 bounces.

The main foul is pushing for which a throw may be awarded to the other team; a penalty throw awarded; or the player sent off  for two minutes. I found this a bit confusing because it did not seem to be completely non-contact but throws penalties and send-offs were awarded for what seemed to me identical contacts and similar ones incurred no sanction.
Two halves of 30 minutes are played. The game is fast and high scoring; the sort of thing you would expect americans to like. It is not a main american game though being most popular in Scandinavian countries and Germany.

Taroudant proved to be the superior team. (They are in dark blue in the pictures). I think that they had the superior goalie who made a number of excellent saves and they were much quicker at scoring on the break after a failed Agadir attack. By half time their score was double that of Agadir. They slowed down in the final ten minutes allowing Agadir to reclaim some honour and eventually Taroudant won 24 goals to 19.

the stadium had a very sophisticated scorebaord which counted down the time, stopping for injury breaks and managers timeouts. It also counted down the seconds for each send off. I tried to take a picture but is was dark in the stadium and needed a long exposure so camera shake made it show double which is interesting as that is exactly what my cataracts make me see without my prescription glasses.

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