Connect with us

World Cup

Morocco names six cites and stadiums for 2030 World Cup

Published

on

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

Barely 24 hours after being announced as a co-host of the 2030 FIFA World Cup, Morocco has already named six stadiums for use at the landmark edition that marks 100 years since the World Cup began.

President of the Royal Morocco Football Federation (FRMF) Faouzi Lakjaa named the stadiums spread across Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat, Fez, Marrakech and Agadir.

The prompt naming is apparently to illustrate the preparedness of the kingdom, even with one edition of the World Cup still ahead.

Most of the stadiums are time honoured and have been kept in good condition by the state run company, Société nationale de réalisation et de gestion des stades (SONARGES) which in English translates to National stadium construction and management company.

Advertisement

In Casablanca, the stadium to the used is Stade Mohammed V. It is a multi-purpose arena and the oldest stadium in Morocco. It is the home ground for local rivals, Wydad and Raja Casablanca.

In 1997, the stadium set a record of attendance of 110,000 during the Casablanca derby  and a match between the Moroccan national team against Ghana. . The same record attendance was repeated during Morocco’s match against Argentina in 2004.

Tangier boast of Ibn Batouta Stadium, one of those used at the 2022 Club World Cup earlier this year. Nigeria also played against Liberia at the arena in one of the qualifying duels for the 2022 World Cup. It is named after a Moroccan scholar and explorer.

Another Centennial World Cup city is Marrakech. The Stade de Marrakech

has a unique architectural design. Situated some 11 km from the city centre. It is the first stadium in the world to be both rectangular and also incorporate an elliptical running track.
Designed by Italian firm, Gregotti Associati International, it is adorned in brick red colour outwardly to have an harmony with the ancient city that is noted for its trademark of red walls. Generally,  Marrakech is nicknamed “Red City” as most buildings are constructed in red sandstone .
The stadium outwardly cut  the picture of an  ancient fort and having four towers at the corners of the unique arena.
Each tower carries a set of halogen lamps that illuminate the natural lush green grass and the main bowl. This may not be a coincidence. As the director of the stadium, Rachid Naifi explained, the shape refers to fortifications on one hand and to local architecture in general.

Advertisement

Another 2030 host city is Fez. It is the second largest city in Morocco and the northern inland part of the country has the Fez Stadium.

It is in this arena that a goal-scorer that qualified an African team into the semi-final of the World Cup is honoured.

Youssel En-Nesyri who leapt an incredible height of 2.78 metres to score Morocco’s winner against Portugal at the last World Cup has a huge photograph that captured the goal episode, adorning the Fez Stadium.

The stadium’s seats are in green and red depicting the national colours of Morocco. 

En-Nesyri’s incredible jump cum goal set an eye-catching record as it reportedly outperformed Ronaldo’s famous 2.56-metre jump during a game with his former club Juventus in the 2019-2020 football season.

Advertisement

Both El-Nesyri and Ronaldo are of the same height. El-Nesyri is a native of the city of Fez. His astounding  jump above  Portugal’s goalkeeper Diogo Costa and defender, Ruben Dias culminating in a header into the net was described as highest jump in football goal scoring episodes.

His native Fez in Morocco has honoured him. According to Anass Erghnouni, the director of the Fez stadium, El-Nesyri started his football career as a youth player at Maghreb Association  Sportve de Fes (MAS Fes) before moving to Mohammed VI Football Academy in Rabat.

More significant is perhaps the life-sized photograph that King Mohammed VI took with the Atlas Lions upon return from Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The use of photographs that capture Morocco’s passion for football may not be a surprise. Erghnouni, the director of the stadium and top official at Morocco’s stadium management company, SONARGES explained that Fez is one of the biggest cultural centres of Morocco and habouring over 12 centuries of history.

The simplicity of the stadium’s design is to showcase the city’s old century of culture, explained Erghnouni. The pitch of the stadium has lush green natural grass.

Advertisement

The resident clubs at the 45,000 capacity stadium are Maghreb Association Sportive de Fès (MAS Fes) and Wydad Athletic de Fès.

Though in existence since1997, it was officially commissioned 10 years later.

It habours four locker rooms for football teams, making it very good for double-header matches for which Africa Cup of Nations’ group games adopted.

It means that while a game is on, the two other teams who are to take on the pitch later have their own locker rooms.

Four huge slanting flood light pillars each carry 50 halogen lamps to ensure brilliant spectacle both for spectators and television viewers.

Advertisement

Agadir is another World Cup designated city. It was at this city that Nigeria’s Super Eagles had their biggest win when they beat Sao Tome & Principe 10-0 last year in one of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series.

The Grand Stade d’Agadir has a uniqueness as a place where the Atlas Mountains blend with sports facilities.

Occasionally, structural designers attempt a blend of nature with constructions. This is very apparent in the design of Grand Stade d’Agadir.

The stadium is lying at the foot of the Atlas Mountain from where the Morocco national team derived their nickname, Atlas Lions.

Hitcham Allouli, the stadium’s director told Sports Village Square that  the 45,480 capacity Grand Stade Adrar Agadir was designed to form part of Morocco’s bid for the 2010 World Cup.

Advertisement

Early construction works kicked off in 2003, but works progressed slowly and stalled when South Africa got awarded the World Cup instead of Morocco.

Construction works resumed in 2007 and was completed in October 2013 and hosted some matches of that year’s edition of the FIFA Club World Cup.

Located on the eastern edge of the Agadir at the foot of the Atlas mountain range, the stadium is about five kilometres from Agadir’s centre and beachfront.

The arena’s director said that the stadium is estimated to have been constructed at cost of one million euro.

The design was by a Moroccan architect, Sad Benkirane in conjunction with a foreign firm, Gregotti Associati International.

Advertisement

Outwardly, the stadium in colour and in shape, is designed to have a perfect harmony with the surrounding hills as outside walls have sloped elevations.

Hitcham Allouli  informed that the arena, with natural grass, has a media tribune that can hold 288 journalists as well as 12 commentary boxes.

The three-tiered grand stand has three VVIP zones and each had capacity for 250 guests. This is in addition to 12 lounges that can host 300 guests.

Rabat, the green city and seat of government has the popular Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium.

Advertisement

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

World Cup

Home grounds of Barcelona, Real Madrid among 11 proposed World Cup 2030 venues

Published

on

- Real Madrid celebrate winning the Champions League - Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - June 2, 2024 General view inside the stadium and Real Madrid's Toni Kroos during the Champions League celebration with fans REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

Spain’s soccer federation (RFEF) has proposed 11 stadiums as candidates to host matches during the 2030 World Cup, including the home arenas of LaLiga clubs Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Spain, who will co-host the tournament with Portugal and Morocco as well as centenary hosts Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, will also have 45 additional grounds as team bases, the RFEF said on Friday.

Other LaLiga clubs whose home arenas have made the list include Sevilla, Malaga, Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao, Las Palmas and promoted Espanyol.

Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium, despite being the fifth-largest stadium in LaLiga with a capacity of 49,430, was not included in the list of potential venues.

“In order to define the venues, all the possibilities have been analysed, including the option of expanding to 13, an option that must be taken unanimously by the three federations,” the RFEF said in a statement.

Advertisement

The tournament will have a maximum of 20 venues, the RFEF added.

Co-hosts Morocco last year announced plans to build a stadium near Casablanca and upgrade six others before the World Cup.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

World Cup

It’s 28 years since Super Eagles’ worst competitive defeat

Published

on

Denmark unexpectedly beat Nigeria 4-1

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

Denmark face Germany on Saturday hoping to recreate their famous victory at the Euro 92 when they secured their first title, although they were the underdogs.

 This day 28 June, a day before their Round of 16 Euro 2024 clash with Germany also brings the memory of their famous Round of 16 win over Nigeria at the France ‘98 World Cup.

Their 4-1 defeat of the Super Eagles remains the biggest defeat that the Nigerians have gotten in a competitive duel in nearly 30 years.

 It was an unexpected result considering that the Super Eagles contributed to the elimination of one of the tournaments favourites, Spain.

Advertisement

A goal down under two minutes and two down under 12 minutes presented a huge mountain for the Super Eagles to climb.

 What a twist of an event most had thought the Nigerian team would be the dominant side.

The world was awaiting a match-up of Nigeria and Brazil in the quarter-finals.

It was to rekindle the memorable encounter of both countries’ Olympic teams two years earlier when Nigeria famously defeated Brazil 4-3 in a golden goal decider at the semi-finals.

     A rematch at the quarter finals of France ’98 would have brought up a novel match-up of reigning Olympic gold medallists and reigning World Cup holders. It turned out a mere dream.

Advertisement

 Nigeria’s manager, Bora Milutinović fielded a starting line-up with seven midfielders and no attacker.

Could that had been a new tactical formation in football in a knockout game Nigeria had to score and win? Call it the 3-7-0. Call it overconfidence.

      Even Nigeria’s manager was reportedly half-kiddingly remarked before the match: “We’ve got a very important match coming up in Nantes” – a reference to a possible quarter-final meeting  with Brazil.

  Member of the team, Mutiu Adepoju told Sports Village Square that poor tactical approach cost Nigeria the match.     “The game was taken as a routine one and hence, no special preparation for it.

  “The coaches did not even border to get insight into the Denmark team”, said Adepoju who was called ‘Headmaster’  for his heading skill. It was with an header that he scored Nigeria’s first goal that put scores at 1-1 in a 3-2 defeat of Spain in the opening match.

Advertisement

  He dismissed a well publicised claim by teammate, Taribo West that the players had busy nights with women prior to the match.

  He however admitted that there was discontentment in camp and that the coaching crew lost control of the team.

  It came light that the players did not sleep all night as the now very familiar agitations for enhanced match bonuses came up.

As published in the on-line version of Al-Jazeera in 2014, Sunday Oliseh was quoted as saying: “We wasted too much energy on the eve of our game haggling over bonus, something like that should not be the focus at a big tournament like the World Cup. “We lost that game off the pitch and not on the pitch.”           

Advertisement
Continue Reading

World Cup

FIFA awards win to Niger after Congo no-show in World Cup qualifier

Published

on

bf5f50d9-fifa.jpg

FIFA has awarded Niger a win and the full three points in a 2026 World Cup soccer qualifier with Congo that was postponed this month, the world governing body said on Wednesday.

Congo had refused to travel to Kinshasa, capital of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, for their home game after their stadium in Brazzaville was deemed not to have met hosting requirements.

Niger did travel, and were awarded the game 3-0, which leaves them second in Group E on six points, three behind leaders Morocco. Congo are stuck on zero points from their three matches.

Only the top team in each of the nine pools is guaranteed a place at the expanded World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to declare the match lost by forfeit 3-0 by the representative team of Congo,” FIFA said in a statement.

Advertisement

It said the Alphonse Massemba-Debat Stadium in Brazzaville could not have been used until renovations, including the laying of a new pitch, were completed

Congolese Sports Minister Hughes Nguilondile declared the stadium ready in late May, but it was deemed too late to move the fixture. FIFA ordered it to go ahead in Kinshasa as originally planned, leading to Congo’s withdrawal in protest.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Most Viewed