Midfielder Larbi Naji is one the best players in the Moroccan League “Botola” in recent years. The "combatant", as his side’s RS Berkane supporters call him, is also a goal scorer who has been decisive in so many games for The Oranges.
With sound technique and impressive vision, Larbi's defensive and transitional roles have been crucial to the tactical philosophy of the 2019 Total CAF Confederation Cup runner ups on both domestic and continental fronts.
Naji's technical and physical abilities help him to outstandingly accomplish his roles on the pitch, making high pressure on the opponents, gaining possession with tackles, and ensuring a fast transition as a link between defense and attack.
Born in Sale in 1990, Naji started playing football as an amateur in the streets, before a scout’s eyes caught him. It was the moment that changed his life.
“Football is everything in my life since I was a kid. I grew up in a popular neighbourhood where football was our passion. I started playing in the streets, and then I joined an amateur local side in Sale, until a scout from Ittihad Touarga asked me to join their club. It was the moment I switched from amateur to professional player," Naji told CAFonline.com
Larbi played two seasons at Ittihad Touarga, and then one more with Association Sale before joining RS Berkane in 2014 to become one of the club’s talismanic players. He won the Throne Cup with Berkane in 2018, the first title in The Oranges' history. He was also a key player when RSB reached the Total CAF Confederation Cup final last year.
"Year after year we gain experience at CAF competitions. We were about to win last year's Confederation Cup but lost it narrowly. When we lose, we bear our responsibility. We played beautiful football but maybe lacked enough experience, that we have now. My ambition is to win a continental title with the club that gave me everything,” he added.
For Larbi Naji, RS Berkane is more than just a club, but a family where you find mutual and endless support. With a clear objective among the whole staff to always compete for titles, Naji expresses his attachment to the eastern city of Berkane, and satisfaction of wearing the club's jersey for more than six years. "I am just happy to be here and I want to give more to this club,” he noted.
Naji, who also plays for local based Morocco national team, has been decisive in so many games. In addition to his defensive roles, he scores goals with powerful shots and headers. His historic goals and winning spirit made supports consider him as of the best transfers in the club's history.
"Athough he came from another city we see him as Berkane's faithful boy. It is here where his name has become known and where he has shown his talent and passion for the game. You will find him everywhere on the pitch, in the midfield, attack or defense. Naji is a true leader and a real fighter!" Yassine Talbi, RS Berkane supporter told CAFonline.
RS Berkane takes on compatriots Hassania Agadir in the 2019-20 Total CAF Confederation Cup semifinal this Monday (19 October 2020) at Moulay Prince Abdullah Stadium in Rabat, with the winner reaching the final with an eye on his first ever CAF title.