Connect with us

International Football

2030 World Cup: ‘Right time’ for Morocco’s sixth bid

Published

on

Morocco became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup before going out to France in Qatar last year

Morocco’s sports minister has said he is “confident” now is the “right time” for the country to launch a sixth attempt to host football’s men’s World Cup.

The North African nation havejoined Spain and Portugal in a joint bid for 2030, replacing Ukraine who have been forced to pull out due to the ongoing war with Russia.

“It’s a natural bid – Spain, Portugal and Morocco have close ties,” Chakib Benmoussa told BBC Sport Africa in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where Morocco’s part in the bid was announced last week at World Cup organisers Fifa’s annual congress.

“[Spain and Portugal] have invested a lot in infrastructure and in developing football and we think the bid has a lot of chance.”

Morocco joining its two European neighbours makes this the first confirmed transcontinental bid in World Cup history.

Advertisement
Morocco’s failed bid for the 2026 World Cup would have included 14 stadiums across these 12 cities

“Geographically, distances are closer than other groups where we are and which will organise the World Cup in future,” Benmoussa explained.

“We are confident that it will be the right time.”

South Africa is the only African nation ever to win the right to host a World Cup, holding the 2010 edition after beating, among others, Morocco and Egypt in the bidding process.

“I think it is a unique proposal,” South Africa Football Association president Danny Jordaan, the man who led organisation of the 2010 tournament, told BBC Sport Africa.

“Portugal and Spain are members of Uefa and Morocco is a member of the Caf, so it brings together for the first time in the history of world football two continental bodies.”

Advertisement

“We want to wish Morocco well, and of course Portugal and Spain will give them a significant boost.”

Moroccans confident

Morocco’s failed bids have all come in the last 30 years, having previously put their hat in the ring to host World Cups in 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2026.

But this is a first joint bid, something which is raising hopes inside the country itself, according to Moroccan football journalist Amine El Amri.

“People are generally really confident compared to the other bids in the past,” he said, pointing to the expansion of the competition due to take place in 2026 when the USA, Canada and Mexico will also join forces as part of a tri-nation bid.

“With the passing of time and the passing of bids, the general public in Morocco have understood that it doesn’t need to be as costly as it is for one country to host the World Cup, especially a format where there are 48 teams instead of 32.”

Advertisement

“Especially because the other two partners, Spain and Portugal, have infrastructure (and) logistics to help Morocco, so I think it’s a very strong bid.”

Morocco’s recent performance in Qatar could also boost their chances, having become the first Africans to reach the semi-finals of a World cup – a success that was attributed to the country’s development at all levels of the game.

Morocco also successfully hosted last year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations with the Atlas Lionesses reaching the final where they lost to South Africa.

-BBC

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

International Football

Two Moroccan football players lost at sea, says club official

Published

on

Abdellatif Akhrif, IRT player reported missing off the coast of M'diq this Saturday, July 6, 2024. © COPYRIGHT: IRT

Two Moroccan players from top-flight soccer side Ittihad Tanger have been missing at sea since Saturday after strong currents drifted their small yacht, a club official said on Sunday.

They were in a group of five players from the club who went cruising off the northern city of Tangier when strong currents and heavy winds drifted their yacht away as they were swimming in deep waters, club deputy president Anass Mrabet told Reuters.

“Three players have already been rescued on Saturday, while research is still ongoing for the missing Salman Harraq and Abdellatif Akhrif,” he said.

The players did not have buoys on them when they jumped from the small yacht to swim, he said citing recounts by rescued players.

While Akhrif, 24, is already a full member of the squad, Harraq, 18, was about to move up to the senior team this year, Mrabet added.

Advertisement

Ittihad Tanger have been in the Moroccan top flight since 2015 and won the league title for the first and only time in their history in the 2017-18 season. However, they have struggled in the lower half of the standings in recent years.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

International Football

FIFA launches ‘Football Manager’ World Cup with $100,000 in prize money

Published

on

FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development and former soccer manager Arsene Wenger speaks during the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 17, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

FIFA will host its first ever FIFAe World Cup of Football Manager this year to crown the best virtual manager on the highly-popular video game, world soccer’s governing body said on Thursday.

FIFA is partnering with Sports Interactive, the developers of the game that has sold millions of copies and has also been used by several football clubs to scout players and opponents thanks to its extensive database.

Players will compete for $100,000 in prize money in the final event from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

“This competition requires participants to demonstrate a profound understanding of football strategy and tactics,” said former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is the ambassador for the esports event.

“Success demands not only mastery of game mechanics but also in-depth football knowledge, making this format a fascinating blend.”

Advertisement

FIFA said in the inaugural year of the event, selected member associations will be invited to be represented at the final event.

Member associations from all six confederations are expected to be invited while players can sign up on FIFA’s website.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

International Football

Former Italy international Roberto Baggio robbed at gunpoint

Published

on

Former Italy international Roberto Baggio was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint at his home in northern Italy while watching his country’s match against Spain in the Euro 2024 tournament on Thursday, local police said.

Burglars broke into Baggio’s house near Vicenza, hit him on the head with a gun butt and locked him and his family in a room while they stole jewellery, watches and cash, daily Il Corriere della Sera reported. It said he suffered a deep wound.

“Luckily, the violence I suffered only resulted in a few stitches, bruises and a lot of fear. Now it is to overcome the fear,” Baggio was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA.

Baggio, 57, played for clubs including Juventus (JUVE.MI), opens new tab, AC Milan and Inter Milan. He also played 56 times for Italy, scoring 27 goals, and is widely seen as one of his country’s all-time greats.

After the robbery, Baggio, widely known as the “divine ponytail”, was treated at a local hospital where he received stitches for the head wound, Italian media reported.

Advertisement

Italy lost to Spain 1-0 on Thursday and now must avoid defeat by Croatia to guarantee progression in the tournament.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Most Viewed