Ahmad Baja has come full circle.
Two years after being cut from the Moroccan team for the World Cup held in France, Baja is likely to return to the starting line-up following a respectable appearance in his current club, the Saudi al-Nassr, in the recent World Football Clubs Championship in Brazil. Baja helped the club temporarily tie the match against the famous Spanish Real Madrid club.
True, Baja is not the Moroccan football team's most popular player. That award is reserved to Mustafa Hadji, Nor A-Din Naybet or Chippo.
Perhaps the reason Baja never reached celebrity status was because he never played for a European club, even though experts and the media consider him to be a talented and high skilled player.
Nevertheless, most Arab football fans still remember his stellar moment in the 1994 World Cup, when Morocco confronted another Arab team - Saudi Arabia. In a brilliant display of footwork, Baja passed all the Saudi defenses before passing off to the team's goal scorer, Shaush, for the assist. But four years later, his career reached a low moment and he was cut from playing in the World Cup in France.
Now many believe that if he gets the backing from his coach, all football fans will enjoy his dazzling dribbles during the ongoing African Nations Football Cup.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)