Morocco became the first African nation to reach the Semi-final of a FIFA World Cup following a 1-0 win over Portugal in the Quarter-final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The historic feat has been subject of many commentaries and comments across the World, with some of the opinion Moroccans are lucky to be in the last-4 of the FIFA World Cup.
In this article, SportsRation correspondent Nsikakabasi Akpan presents reasons why Morocco’s historic semi-final place is not a product of luck but a result of years of goal driven development.
The Vision Of The Moroccan Football Federation
The Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) under the able leadership of Fouzi Lekjaa, have been passionately focused on the development of football In the North African country.
From the state of sporting facilities, to the talent discovery and development formula, Morocco has been sowing the right seeds which has grown into what is playing out in Qatar.
Fouzi Lekjaa aptly captured the Moroccan Football Federations vision in this comments “The development of football in Morocco is founded on a triangular approach that should form the basis of the development of any system: facilities, talent and qualified personnel.
” Along with my colleagues at the FRMF, I am convinced that those three fundamentals have to be in place for the process to develop as it should. ”
Pre-World Cup Results Of The Vision
Morocco have so developed their football and are presently Africa’s best in CAF Club Competitions.
This year, RSB Berkane defeated Orlando Pirates to be crowned champions of the CAF Confederation Cup while Wydad Casablanca followed up by dethroning Al Ahly of Egypt to win the CAF Champions League title.
The focus has not been on men’s football alone. Morocco women’s national team finished second at the last Women’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament to book a first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification ticket.
Even the Women’s CAF Champions League title is on Moroccan soil. ASFAR FC Ladies dethroned Mamelodi Sundowns to the title in November 2022.
Off the field , Morocco’s massive investment in sporting facilities sets them apart from the rest of Africa.
That is why, hosting of nearly all CAF Football tournaments in the last four years, will always have a mention of Morocco .
Even FIFA Is Aware Of This Vision
What Morocco is doing will not come as a surprise to the Federation of International Football – FIFA .
Following Morocco Quater-final win over Spain, FIFA via it’s official website had delivered what I term a ” Confession ” that perfectly explains the great work by the Morrocan Football Federation Authorities.
FIFA wrote “Moroccan football is starting to reap the rewards of the [Moroccan football] Federation’s good work, achieving great success at all levels of both the men’s and women’s game,” FIFA wrote.
“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ has been a dream come true for the Atlas Lions, who topped their group to qualify for the round of 16 and become the first African team to earn seven points in a FIFA World Cup group stage, all while being led by a Moroccan coach,” FIFA explained.
In addition to the men’s national team, FIFA also expressed satisfaction with the development of Moroccan women’s football.
“The Moroccan Federation is not focused on men’s football alone, paying plenty of attention to the women’s game as well. The COVID-19 relief plan under the FIFA Forward Programme made grants of 500,000 dollars available to each member association in order to assist women’s football,”
“There was success off the pitch too, with record attendances confirming the country’s strong interest in women’s football,” FIFA concluded.
The Players & Their Commitment To Fight
To remain compact and solid like this Moroccan lads have been takes a lot of hardwork, dedication and commitment.
It is obvious they want to fight for their country. Who will look at the energy and positivity around the countries football circles and not want to play a part to bring more success.
Head Coach Walid Regragui was snapped to the team after guiding Wydad Casablanca to CAF Champions League victory and the 47 year old has always hailed his nation as playing a huge part in his development.
The Lesson For The Rest Of Africa
Discouraging the linking of LUCK to Morocco’s historic World Cup Semi-final qualification is important to allow other African countries learn from the Morocco example.
It is time football administrators in Africa adopt this tested and successful formula and we’ll be proud of the growth and successes it will attract.
Invest in facilities, invest in talent discovery and development, remove politics from football administration and get the leagues running effectively.
Morocco have shown the example and we are enjoying the benefits. It’s not luck, they’ve planned and worked for this to happen.
What Next For The Atlas Lions
A Semi-final date with World Champions France is next for Morocco.
The Atlas Lions will head into the game on December 14 with an eye on yet another historic feat if they are victorious.
They have already held Croatia, defeated Belgium and Canada to finish as Group leaders.
Knock-out Spain in the Last-16, Knock-out Portugal in the Quarter-final. France will be wary of this compact Moroccan team. sportsration.com