Merouane Zemmama (born October 7, 1983) is a Moroccan football player who currently plays for the Scottish Premier League club Hibernian. He joined from Raja Casablanca in August 2006. Zemmama represented his country at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
The diminutive playmaker Zemmama made his debut for Hibernian on 12 August 2006 in a 0-0 draw at Inverness. He has been hailed as the ‘new Russell Latapy’. Latapy was an excellent creative midfielder for the 2000/2001 Hibs side.
His early performances have excited the Hibernian faithful. In his home debut against Motherwell, Zemmama made a sublime assist for the second goal, flicking the ball with his backheel into the path of Scott Brown. Zemmama created three goals in his third match for Hibs, a 4-0 win over Peterhead in the CIS Cup. He then set up Scott Brown’s goal in Hibs’ next match against Celtic, a match which Hibs eventually lost 2-1.
Zemmama scored his first goal for Hibs in the 2-2 draw with rivals Hearts on 15 October 2006. Zemmama finished the season tied for second in the league in assists with nine, despite missing two months’ worth of games due to a hamstring injury.
On 20 August, 2006, it was reported by the Sunday Mail that Raja Casablanca were disputing the legality of Zemmama’s transfer to Hibernian. Raja have stated that the player has signed a contract with them until 2009, which would have precluded him from signing a contract with Hibernian.
On 21 August, however, the Hibernian chairman, Rod Petrie, refuted the claim that Zemmama has a contract with Raja. FIFA stated that there was no investigation into the transfer. On 30 August, 2006, however, the Moroccan Football Federation announced that they had suspended the player pending an investigation into the transfer. FIFA have stated that the player can continue to be selected for Hibs during the investigation.
FIFA then stated that the main allegation – that the international transfer certificate had been forged – is a criminal matter, and they have therefore closed their investigation pending the outcome of enquiries by the Moroccan police.
Media reports have recently suggested that Hibs have paid a fee of €200,000 fee to Raja.