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Limburg crooner Salim Seghers sang the 1994 World Cup song for the Moroccan national football team

In addition to the many thousands of Flemings with Moroccan roots, a singer from Limburg Province will watching this Saturday afternoon’s World Cup quarter final game between Portugal and Morocco with particular interest.

In 1994 Salim Seghers from Peer recorded the Moroccan national football’s team’s official song for the World Cup finals in the United States. His song "Les Lions d'Atlas sont vraiment des champions" is still popular today among Moroccan football fans.

The story of how a man that had previously mainly sung Flemish crooners came to be asked to sing the official song for the national team of a country more than 2,000 kilometres from Flanders exemplifies the multi-cultural character of many areas of Limburg Province. 

Salim Seghers’ is lyricist has Moroccan roots and had contacts at the Moroccan FA. Sadly for them and despite the encouragement given to them by Salim Seghers’ song, the Moroccan team was eliminated in the group stage. Belgium was among the teams that beat them back then.

In an interview with VRT Radio 2 Limburg Salim Seghers said "I was watching the Morocco-Spain match, and out of the blue a journalist from Het Belang van Limburg called me to ask about the World Cup song I once made for Morocco. I had completely forgotten about it myself."

Salim Seghers, whose real name is Jos Aerts added that he remembers that Morocco were eliminated after the group stage, during which they were beaten 1-0 by Belgium.

Seghers' lyricist, Johnny Larbi, has Moroccan roots, but has been living in Testelt in Flemish Brabant for many years.

"We thought at the start of the World Cup that they might win, so Johnny quickly wrote a text, that named after the "The Lions of the Atlas Mountains" (The name given to the players of the Moroccan team)."

"Johnny approached his contacts at the Moroccan FA and they were very enthusiastic. We then had 5,000 cassettes made. We had appointments in Morocco for television and radio interviews, but suddenly they were already out of the World Cup. And we were left with all those cassettes," the singer laughs.

In an interview with VRT Radio 2 Limburg Salim Seghers said "I was watching the Morocco-Spain match, and out of the blue a journalist from Het Belang van Limburg called me to ask about the World Cup song I once made for Morocco. I had completely forgotten about it myself."

Salim Seghers, whose real name is Jos Aerts added that he remembers that Morocco were eliminated after the group stage, during which they were beaten 1-0 by Belgium. Salim Seghers' lyricist, Johnny Larbi, has Moroccan roots, but has been living in Testelt in Flemish Brabant for many years.

"We thought at the start of the World Cup that they might win, so Johnny quickly wrote a text, that named after the "The Lions of the Atlas Mountains" (The name given to the players of the Moroccan team)."

"Johnny approached his contacts at the Moroccan FA and they were very enthusiastic. We then had 5,000 cassettes made. We had appointments in Morocco for television and radio interviews, but suddenly they were already out of the World Cup. And we were left with all those cassettes," the singer laughs.

Two Moroccan national team players played for Lommel SK at the time. The music video for the World Cup song was also shot there. If Morocco win against Portugal this afternoon, Seghers will consider re-releasing "Les Lions d'Atlas sont vraiment des champions". "I will therefore fervently support the Moroccan team," he solemnly promised VRT Radio 2.

 

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