TARIK, who played at Shonan Bellmare until last year, said "football was the key" when he was a boy and moved to Norway

  • text by Igawa Yoichi
  • photo by Kishiku Torao

Why JAPAN?-Reasons why I play in Japan-

Interview with TARIK Elyounoussi Part 2

※This interview was conducted in November 2023.

Tarik's father, who had been working in Norway since 1969, thought one day that the level of education was higher in the Nordic country than in his native Morocco and that there was also a wider choice of occupations. Having been moving back and forth between the two, he thought it would perhaps be better for the whole family to emigrate.

As a result, Tarik and his family moved from the warm southern Mediterranean coast to the Nordic region, where the sun almost disappears in the winter. Tarik was 10 years old.

"It was really hard," he said. "Because we started living in a completely different world. It was like heaven and earth turned upside down. In Morocco, it was warm and we played outside all year round until our mothers called us. But Norway is a cold country. Especially in winter, it's bitterly cold and it's always dim, even in the daytime. When I left the house at 8am and came home at 4pm it was as dark as night. In the beginning it was extremely hard. And I missed my Moroccan friends."

At the time, when there were still few expatriate migrants in the country, Tarik was subjected to curious stares at the school he transferred to. He didn't understand the language at all. The colour of their skin was different. The 10-year-old boy felt painfully alienated.

But one day, during lunchtime, everything changed....

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