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Brest Stadium. Halilhodzic, Regragui, a journalist from Casablanca: seen from Morocco, they present Achraf Dari – Stade Brestois

Vahid Halilhodzic, Morocco coach who once selected Achraf Dari:

“He can still improve in the recovery”

“He is a powerful stopper, good in duels and anticipation who prefers to play in the center of defense, on the right side. He loves going into contact, he is quite strong (1.88 m), he is a great aerial player. In the recovery, it’s not bad but it can still improve. By signing in Brest, he arrives in a higher level world and there will undoubtedly be a phase of acclimatization, of adaptation. He can, I think, bring defensive stability to Stade Brestois.

I believe he has the level of Ligue 1, although time will tell. I discussed him with Michel Der Zakarian who called me to inquire. Thanks to his good form in recent months, he was recently called up to the national team. He even played half time and gave a lot of satisfaction. The Moroccan championship is a fairly technical football, slower and less powerful than France. Achraf is a rather shy but very serious, very diligent boy”.

Achraf Dari (left) was voted the best defender in the African Champions League in 2022. (EPA-EFE)

Oumeïma Er-rafay, journalist at 360Sport who follows Wydad Casablanca:

“He had his tifo, it’s quite rare with the Winners”

“You should know that he is a player who was trained at Wydad Casablanca, he is a pure product of Wac. He has evolved in all age categories of the club. He arrived unknown to the battalion in 2017 and it is a bit of a symbol of the renewal of this Wydad team which is African champion this year. He is 23 years old and caught the eye of coach Vahid Halilhodzic. It is very demanding when it comes to local players, very few local players manage to evolve for the selection.

Achraf Dari has only one selection for the Atlas Lions but he is there, he opened the doors to the den. He is right-handed but can play with both feet. He is a strong and tough player on the man who goes to the duel, to the fight and Walid Regragui grabbed it very quickly. He has a very good heading game and a good long game and has this reflex to go forward. He is altruistic but also collects a lot of cards.

Be careful, he is a disciplined player off the field, he has never been involved in a fight, has never skipped training. Achraf Dari is a beloved player at the club and it’s quite rare for the ultras, the Winners, to make tifos in tribute to a player when he leaves. He was also vice-captain of the club and had a constant progression. In the mixed zone, he is a fairly shy player but he speaks on the pitch, he was part of the Wydad executives. He is a fairly calm man, much appreciated by Walid Regragui. Is he ready for Ligue 1? I would like to rely on an example, that of Nayef Aguerd, from Rabat. Dari has an Aguerd profile but is stronger on the man. Brest is doing a great operation with him. Stade Brestois is, I think, the best choice for him, he will have little pressure.

epa09986959 Achraf Dari (R) of Morocco's Wydad in action against Percy Tau (L) of Egypt's Al-Ahly during the CAF Champions League final soccer match between Al Ahly and Wydad AC at the Mohammed V Stad
Achraf Dari (left) was “the rock” of Wydad Casablanca according to his coach. (EPA-EFE)

Walid Regragui, coach of Wydad Casablanca since August 2021:

“He has nothing to envy to many Ligue 1 players”

“Achraf hatched very early, he started at 18 but an injury stopped him a bit in his tracks. For two years, he has returned to his best level. What is happening to him now, he deserves it because he works a lot. He is ambitious and has made a lot of effort to pass a milestone, especially in terms of concentration.

He was our defensive leader, our rock and as soon as he wasn’t there, we were quickly in big trouble. Humanly, he is a very good boy, good to live with, hardworking. I am very happy that he can join Ligue 1 and Brest, a good intermediate club for him. If he works well and listens, he can go even higher.

Achraf is a somewhat old-fashioned central defender, very strong on the man and we worked on the placement together. He is fast over the first few meters but he has a lot of room for improvement, especially in the relaunch: he may have to take a little more risk. But it’s true that we, at Wydad, are in a club where popular pressure is asphyxiating for the player, it’s 45,000 supporters in each match and each mistake can put you in the hole. It limits risk taking a bit. In Brest, he will have a different pressure, there will be much less expectations and he will turn a corner in this area”.

“Everyone mourns Achraf’s departure here but we had a deal with the president to let him go, he was always honest with the club. Achraf should not be expected to play Nayef Aguerd, whom I had as a player in Rabat, as Aguerd cannot play Dari.

I would say they would be rather complementary in a hinge. Brest is for me the right club, I also oriented it towards this choice. Because as for Nayef in Dijon, I think that the Stade Brestois is the club where he can quickly impose himself to, perhaps, go higher. But it will depend on his attitude, his work, his patience and the support of the club. What Dijon didn’t do with Nayef at the start, I hope Brest will do with Achraf.

That is to say, Dijon did not initially believe in Nayef and he had taken a long time to play a lot. He had lost a year even if he had made up for lost time in Rennes behind. On the raw and intrinsic value, Achraf is a talented central defender and has nothing to envy to many Ligue 1 players. I hope we made the right choice and that he will take a step to go to the World Cup with Morocco”.

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