7 Abdelhakim Zouita (MAR)
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Morocco's Zouita calls time on national team career


RABAT (Morocco) - After donning the Moroccan national team uniform for the past 19 years, the time has come for Abdelhakim Zouita to calls it quits with Morocco. He made the announcement via an Instagram post..

Looking back over the past two decades, he first thinks about his four appearances at the FIBA AfroBasket under the Moroccan uniform.

After missing out on the last two editions of FIBA Africa’s flagship event, one due to injury, he was hoping to see Morocco make it to the next one.


But Libya got in the way, which will remain a regret for Zouita: "It's a disappointment, especially for me."

He remembers the Moroccan fans and their unwavering support over the past years. "It's only in four years' time that we can hope to go to the AfroBasket again. Morocco and its public don't deserve to miss such an event. Basketball is the Number 2 sport in our country," recalls the 2,01m (6ft 7in) power forward.

Was his unavailability in the 2025 AfroBasket Pre-Qualifiers last month ago the catalyst for his decision? "No, I made the decision before last year's AfroCan," he says.

The competition in Angola was therefore the one that crowned him at continental level. "As a player, the most important thing for me is to win titles. I've done it at club level. I also wanted to do it for the national team. I'm proud to have achieved this by captaining the Moroccan team."

This final victory over Cote d’Ivoire will remain vivid in his mind, especially since he contributed 11 points to the Moroccan cause. "It was Morocco's first title since we last won the AfroBasket in 1965. We've had so many failures before."

Over these two decades, he has seen the improvement of Tunisia, something that has been a motivation for him. "Seeing them compete at the FIBA World Cup and the Olympic Games had me wondering why Morocco couldn't do it. We have the talent to reach these targets", he notes.

Unfortunately, Zouita was never able to express himself at the highest level. "The opponents are very strong. There are national teams with NBA players. We faced so many failures, but we learned from them. This translated to our AfroCan win, " he adds.

Of his early days in the national colors, Zouita remembers the call-ups and the sense of pride he felt. "Every call-up and every competition was different. At first, you try to show that you are part of an elite group, but as the years go by, you realize that indeed you are part of it. You then understand that the group is what matters. "

The life of a high-level athlete is made up of ups and downs, especially when injures happen.

Zouita has had his fair share of injuries that have seen him out of the national team over the course of his career.

"They're not bad memories, strictly speaking. They're just moments you have to forget. These injuries keep you off the field, but the efforts you need to make to get back to your best make it all worth it," notes the player.

Abdelhakim Zouita, who currently plays for FUS Rabat, powered AS Salé to the 2017 FIBA Africa Champions Cup title. In the process, Zouita won the MVP award of the tournament 

He leaves with a sense of duty accomplished and with the certainty that Moroccan basketball is in good hands, with the rise of young players. "I'm convinced that we have talent. We have a generation that can go on and win titles. We can even qualify for the World Cup and the Olympic Games. The potential is there," he insists.