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Player Profile: Tarik Sektioui  

Tarik SektiouiFull name: Tarik Sektioui

Position: Midfielder

Date of Birth: 13 May 1977

Birthplace: Fez, Morocco


In the summer of 2007 Tarik Sektioui seemed destined to become the latest victim of the revolving door transfer policy of Portugal’s top trio of clubs, whereby every close season a clutch of new players are brought in, many of whom will soon be shipped out again without over-troubling the selectors.

But against all expectations the skilful Moroccan forged himself a key role in an FC Porto team that steamrollered to yet another domestic championship in even more domineering style than usual, and which enjoyed a highly creditable, albeit cruelly aborted, Champions League campaign.

Although Tarik earned renown amongst a wider audience through his exploits in Europe’s premier club competition, the fact he replicated his form throughout the season on the domestic front makes it all the more bewildering to think that he was on the verge of being released by the Dragons on the eve of what would become his breakthrough season.

The African possesses attributes that make him a joy to watch, while remaining a true team player – his tremendous workrate earning him huge popularity among fans and club colleagues alike. It is unthinkable to imagine the Moroccan ever being booed by his own supporters, something the extravagantly talented Ricardo Quaresma has had to sporadically endure at the Estadio do Dragao due to his perceived laziness and/or individualism.

Wonder goal

Possessor of mesmerising technique, never was Tarik’s considerable ability with the ball at his feet more in evidence than in scoring one of the 2007/08 Champions League goals of the season. An exhilarating run – evoking memories of the great Maradona – saw him dribble past five Marseille defenders and the goalkeeper before knocking the ball into the empty net.

Tarik’s promise was evident from an early age, when just out of his teens he enjoyed two successful years at Auxerre in France, even earning a nomination as one of the Most Valuable Players in Ligue 1.

It was then that the winger first decided to try his luck in Portugal, but an unhappy stint at Maritimo came to a swift end and a short spell in Switzerland completed a year to forget. His next port of call was Holland, where he found stability and flourished, playing an increasingly important role at Willem II under the management of Co Adriannse, that would eventually see him promoted to club captain.

His career continued to move in the right direction as he followed Adriannse in moving to the up-and-coming AZ Alkmaar, who were busy establishing themselves as a new force threatening the traditional triumvirate of Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord in Holland.

Adriaanse connection

Tarik’s terrific form for AZ soon led to rumours of another move to a more ambitious club. FC Porto beat off competition from Borussia Dortmund, thanks largely to the then-coach, Co Adriaanse, who signed the player for a third time in July 2006.

However, the Moroccan found it tough-going adapting to Portuguese football, and after the Dutch coach left in acrimonious circumstances, the new man at the helm Jesualdo Ferreira, made even sparser use of the winger’s talents. He was loaned back to Holland in the January transfer window, and despite coming back to Portugal to take part in pre-season training it appeared more a question of when rather than if he would be sold.

It was perhaps at this point that the Moroccan’s professionalism shone brightest and was justly rewarded. A series of vibrant displays in friendly matches before the season proper got underway persuaded Ferreira to give the player one last chance to prove his worth at Portugal’s most successful club. It was a decision coach, player and Porto fans will be forever thankful for.

by Tom Kundert (25/03/2008)

Neuchatel Xamax90
Willem II7319
AZ Alkmaar4810
RKC Waalwijk41
FC Porto**277

* League appearances only

** Up to 1 March 2009

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