She stands out on the pitch with her distinctive silver braids and there’s no missing her speed, passion and dribbling ability – Fatima Tagnaout really is the “mad fire” of Morocco’s Atlas Lionesses.
Like her teammates, Tagnaout is walking on air following Morocco’s qualification for their first FIFA Women’s World Cup and their march to the tournament’s semifinals with a fanatical home crowd right behind them.
“It’s an indescribable feeling what I’m experiencing. I cannot say how I feel participating in this WAFCON and more so in my own country. It’s just beautiful,”
Tagnaout said in an interview with CAF Online ahead of Monday night’s massive semifinal clash for the Moroccans against the mighty Super Falcons of Nigeria.
Discovered at a very young age while playing football in her neighborhood, Hay Nassim in Casablanca, she went for trials at Morocco’s top club ASFAR and has not looked back.
“Like everyone else, I kicked my first ball in my neighborhood, I was training with friends. Once one of my teachers, Mrs. Nawal, came to see me to inform me of trials at ASFAR and encouraged me to attend. I went and since then I have never left the club,” says Tagnaout, a natural who was just 15 when she joined the first team.
Tagnaout has gone on to become one of the military club’s most decorated players, winning seven league titles and six Throne Cups with ASFAR.
She also participated with the club in the first edition of the African Women’s Champions League, being named Woman of the Match after the third match of the group stage in a 0-0 draw against eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Tagnaout is one of the central parts of the playing system of Reynald Pedros, the coach of Morocco.
The left winger is a real menace for opposing teams, with her educated left foot supplying dangerous balls into the opposing penalty area which has been a real threat at this WAFCON, while her dribbling can eliminate any player in her path.