Stade de Marrakech is a recently constructed multi-sport stadium in the outskirts of Marrakech, Morocco. It serves as a home ground to the Moroccan national football team and to the local team Kawkab Marrakech.
It has the distinction of hosting the prestigious FIFA Club World Cup twice. The stadium has a capacity of 45,240 and is one of Morocco's best stadiums in terms of facilities.
Its architecture combines the elements of Islamic and European architecture and resembles a fortress. The construction is credited to architecture firm Gregotti Associati, same firm who has constructed the home stadium of UC Sampdoria.
The construction of the stadium started way back in 2003 and took seven long years to finish. It has since then been one of Morocco’s premium stadiums and has hosted the biggest sporting events of Morocco.
However, the first match played here was not a flashy affair. It was a friendly between the local club Kawkab and French giants Olympique Lyonnais.
The first international match it hosted was a friendly between home team Morocco and minnows Niger. Morocco didn’t disappoint the home fans as they comprehensively brushed Niger aside by a 3-0 scoreline.
In its short timeline, Stade de Marrakech has witnessed many amazing and memorable encounters. Akin to its architecture, the stadium is a virtual fortress for the national team. The team has lost only twice (once on penalties) over the last six years at this venue. Their biggest margin of victory at the stadium is a 4-0 victory against Canada in a friendly match in 2016.
Few of the biggest football stars have played here in the FIFA Club World Cup of 2013 and 2014. In the finals of 2013 tournament, Bayern Munich overcame defiant home team Raja Casablanca 2-0.
In next year’s final, Real Madrid got the better of 2014 Copa Libertadores champions San Lorenzo to clinch their first title.
Kawkab Marrakech recently adopted Stade de Marrakech as their home in 2017. The stadium is a regular host of various domestic soccer tournaments like Botola for Kawkab.
However, the team does not witness huge crowds or sellouts due to the distance from the city centre and the isolated surroundings of the stadium.
Marrakech would be an important venue as Morocco prepares to bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. However, if the bid is successful, it has to make a few upgrades to the seating situation.