Morocco has earned a place of honor at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. For the first time, the African team will advance to a semi-final after beating Portugal. The team has managed to keep their score to zero in 4 of the 5 matches they have played in Qatar. An achievement that is due to her star keeper: Yassine Bouno, better known as Bono.
“We are here to change mentality and get rid of inferiority,” said the 31-year-old goalkeeper. “Morocco is ready to compete against anyone in the world, except the semi-finals and whatever.”
Bono has drawn the attention of this World Cup for performances such as those he demonstrated in the game against Spain when he saved two penalties and did not allow a goal in 130 minutes. That match, which eliminated the Spanish team, became a historic milestone for Moroccan football.
“We have changed this mindset and the generation that comes after us will know that Moroccan players can work wondershe stated.
The goalkeeper, who oddly enough has spent much of his career developing in Spain, is emerging from an outstanding role as a Sevilla goalkeeper.
His performance earned him attention the ninth best goalkeeper in the world at the Ballon d’Or gala after receiving the 2022 Yashin Trophy and win his first Zamora Trophy as the goalkeeper with the fewest goals in the 21-22 season.
Bono became his team’s hero in March 2021 against Valladolid, scoring a goal in the 93rd minute to equalize. That feat of an archer was not had received in a decade within the Spanish League.
Thanks to Bono’s performance in the August 2020 semi-final, Sevilla were able to knock out Manchester United 2–1 to win their sixth Europa League title.
Argentinian in heart and soul
Yassine Bouno was born far from Morocco: in Montreal (Canada). He returned to his parents’ country when he was 7 years old. Since he was little he showed interest in football and was part of Wydad Casablanca club, but his father was against him devoting himself to sports. Nevertheless, Bono insisted on being professional.
He left Morocco when he was signed by Atlético de Madrid. The experience was not what he expected and he gave up. He spent two seasons with Zamora (2014-2016) and then with Girona (2016-2019). Until he ended up in Seville.
His life has been associated with Spain. However, it is known to be one big fan of Argentinian football and fan of River. “The first shirt I got from my father came from Argentina,” said the goalkeeper some time ago.
A close bond to which his peculiar Argentinian accent is attributed. “I am more Moroccan than anything else. What happens is that when I got to Spain, I learned with Argentines and my accent kind of stayed,” he once explained.
His great idol is Ariel Ortega, the former Argentine football player better known as ‘El Burrito Ortega’. Bono even admitted in an interview that his dog is named Ariel, in honor of the River player.
Now the eyes of the world are on Morocco. His star goalkeeper’s gloves helped the African team record its best performance at a World Cup after Mexico 86. Will it be Bono’s turn to take on the Argentina team? We will see.
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