With the African Cup of Nations kicking off this week, NTOF will be looking at some of the most interesting African players to grace Scottish football. First up is former Aberdeen attacker Hicham Zerouali.
Zerouali’s story is one with immense sadness in it. The Moroccan was sadly killed in a car accident in December 2004 at the age of just 27. After joining the Pittodrie side in 1999, Zerouali went on to capture the hearts of Dons fans everywhere.
He arrived from Fus Rabat when Aberdeen were fighting to survive in the top flight. There was pressure on him to deliver after arriving for a fee. He delivered in sensational fashion.
Zerouali will live long in the memory for Dons fans
The Moroccan had an eye for the spectacular and showed it on many occasions. On his debut he dazzled the Pittodrie crowd with his flicks, tricks and skill, making an instant impression on the crowd. He laid off two goals as Aberdeen beat Hearts 3-1.
Every time he got on the ball there was excitement. His moments of magic like his free kick against St Mirren in the Scottish Cup was why. He helped the Dons reach two cup finals in his debut season in red.
A horror ankle injury seen Zerouali take a seat on the sidelines for months. He returned to the Dons team, sporting the number zero.
He played on 17 occasion for his country Morocco. After his ankle injury though, he never really recaptured his form. There were odd flashes of the player that had arrived in Aberdeen in 1999. He couldn’t get that level of performance on a regular basis though.
Zerouali left Aberdeen for Al Nasr, ending a three year association with them. He played 48 games in total for the Granite City side. He’ll always be remembered with fondness by everyone at the club.