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Morocco inch closer in to host 2025 AFCON after passing strict FIFA criteria

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By Peter Makossah

African football giants, Morocco, who are seeking to host the 2025 AFCON finals in
their country are closer to winning the bid after the country passed strict
FIFA prerequisite criteria on all fronts.

This is not the first time Morocco gets the thumbs up after a Task Force composed of
dozens of experts travelled throughout Morocco for several months in 2018
before awarding an above-average score that made the Kingdom’s bid eligible for
the 2026 World Cup.

The news comes hot on the heels just days after the legendary Liberian President George
Weah and insanely gifted football kingpin led raucous calls from African
legends for Morocco to host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The undisputed greatest of all time African football loyalty and 1995 Ballon d’Or
winner, Weah who remains the only African ever to be crowned the best player in
the world, is a big admirer of Morocco’s massive investment in football.

“Liberia fully endorses and supports Morocco’s bid to host Afcon 2025. I have made this
commitment to King Mohamed VI. It is cast in stone,” Weah said in a
statement released by the Liberian Presidency.

The 56-year-old, whose 18-year glittering career took him to top European clubs,
including Monaco, AC Milan, and Chelsea, said Morocco was a shining example on
and off the field.

Morocco became the first African country to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup
in Qatar. Their women’s national team finished as runners-up to Banyana Banyana
at the Africa Cup of Nations last year.

The North African country has one of the best football infrastructures in Africa.

Last year, Moroccan clubs won all the CAF competitions.

Stadiums selected to bolster its bid have been approved by FIFA [as part of the bid for
the 2026 World Cup] and CAF as part of the qualifications for the FIFA World
Cup and the AFCON.

The Kingdom also has the Mohammed VI Football Complex, one of the best national football
centres in the world.

On the field of play, in the 2019/20 season, four of the eight semi-finalists of
the Champions League and Confederations Cup have been from Morocco’s Botola Pro
league.

Wydad Athletic Club and RS Berkane are the reigning CAF Champions League and
Confederation Cup champions, while AS Far won the women’s Champions League.

Off the field, Morocco, like Weah, recently won praise from legendary former Bafana
Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane for their football development.

“I don’t know how long it is going to take us, South Africa, to get to where
Morocco is in terms of infrastructure and facilities to develop coaches and
programmes to develop players,” said Mosimane.

Former Indomitable Lions international Antoine Bell concurs with Mosimane and Weah
that Morocco should host not only AFCON but the World Cup in 2030.

He went further and called for South Africa to support Morocco’s bid to bring the
World Cup to Africa again.

“South Africa showed the way, and I am confident Morocco will follow suit – the
country has international standards – from stadiums to top infrastructure.
Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens; hence
South Africa needs to support Morocco as South Africa has the experience, and
Morocco will use this experience to win the 2026 bid,” added Bell.

Surprisingly, despite this success on and off the field, Morocco has yet to host an African
Cup of Nations since 1988.

Morocco recently hosted several continental competitions in its state-of-the-art stadiums. The competitions
included Women’s African Nations Championship or Chan 2022.

The country has brought journalists across African countries to appreciate the
progress made in all sectors.

During the Morocco tour, journalists appreciated their five main stadiums, 45 000
capacity Casablanca’s Muhammed V Complex, Rabat’s Moulay Abdellah Complex (53
000), Grand Stade de Marrakech (45 240), Agadir’s Stade Adrar (45 480), Grand
Stade de Tanger (45 000) and Grand Stade de Fez with a capacity of 37000.

The stadiums are approved by CAF to host international matches and have a video
assistant referee (VAR) system.

They are also managed by Sonarges Facility Management Company.

In an interview, Agadier Stadium manager Hicham Allouli said the facilities have a
good number of people taking care of them.

He said: “Here we have 65-plus employees who are working, they can keep the
facility to the highest standard.

“This stadium does not only host matches, there are many activities taking place,
including big music shows, a thing that also helps us to generate revenue.”

Fes Stadium director Anasse Erghouni said the coming in of the company to manage
the stadium has helped the country to ensure that its stadiums are in good
shape.

“This is a small stadium and old, it was inaugurated in 2007, but it is looking as if
it was opened just last year. This is because of the management that has been
deployed to manage the stadium,” he said.

The country is currently hosting FIFA Club World Cup.

The competition was first contested in 2000 as the FIFA Club World Championship.

Teams that are participating this year are defending champions Real Madrid of Spain,
Flamengo of Brazil, Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, Auckland City FC of New
Zealand, Al Hilal Saudi FC, Al Ahly Sporting Club of Egypt and Seattle Sounders
FC of America.

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