Gambia/Morocco: Gambian Team Caught in Deadly Moroccan Earthquake

The earthquake with an epicentre in the High Atlas mountains caused devastation in the historic city of Marrakech, Morocco.
11 September 2023

Gambia's national football team was caught up in the middle of the devastating earthquake which hit Morocco on Friday night.

Head coach Tom Saintfiet described the "terrible" series of events that he and the team witnessed on Friday ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo.

The Belgian said he thought a plane had crashed into the hotel they were staying in, with the 30-second experience feeling "endless".

"I thought that a plane had crashed into the hotel because we're close to the airport. Later, I knew it was an earthquake," he told the BBC.

"It seems it was only 30 seconds but it felt endless. It was really scary. I never in my life saw a building moving like that."

"We ran outside the hotel and all went to the pool area and slept there in the open air with the other guests as we were told that we couldn't return to our rooms."

Sunday evening's game went ahead, though Saturday's qualifier between Morocco and Liberia, which was set to take place in Agadir, was called off.

The Moroccan national team instead took a break from training on Sunday to donate blood to victims of the disaster.

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake has so far killed 2,122 people and injured thousands more.


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