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Molenbeek’s Cruyff Court hopes to find Belgium’s next rising football star

Ghassen Fridhi

Published: Updated:

Following the Paris attacks in 2015 and Brussels attacks a year later, the municipality of Molenbeek has often been described as a hotspot for international extremism and radicalism by some foreign media.

Many initiatives were taken to counter these clichés and to show a different face of Molenbeek. One of these came from two Dutch men, Unico Van Kooten and Ahmed Lahrouz, who at first had nothing to do with Molenbeek. They used their contacts in Brussels and the Netherlands with the support of many organizations to create a football court where people of different origins could meet and play together. It took them two years to finalize their project.

The Molenbeek Cruyff Court was inaugurated on March 22, 2018, exactly two years after the Brussels terror attacks.

The Johan Cruyff Foundation has created many Cruyff Courts all over the World.

The foundation takes its name from Johan Cruyff, the former Dutch football legend of Ajax Amsterdam and Barcelona.

On these football courts, 14 rules were created for all those who play on them; 14 was the number with which Johan Cruyff was playing during his career.

Every day, around 200 children come to play with Cruyff coaches, who train the children and aim that the 14 rules are well respected.

More than two years after the terror attacks that rocked Brussels, the image of Molenbeek is positively evolving with the hope that perhaps one day, a future star of the Belgian Red Devils would rise from the Molenbeek Cruyff Court.