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FIFA unveils the secrets behind Moroccan football’s success

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“Morocco’s successes in 2022 and 2023… were no accident,” acknowledged FIFA in its new article published on Thursday outlining the secret behind the Kingdom’s football excelling on various fronts, including men’s, women’s, youth football teams, and futsal.

Entitled, “Morocco’s football revolution reaping rewards,” FIFA’s new piece delved into the contributing factors to Morocco’s success in the football world, recognizing Fouzi Lekjaa, the President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, role in craving the Kingdom’s name next to world top-tier teams.

“All of this stems from a carefully constructed plan, which is now bearing fruits for Moroccan football and, with long-term sporting investment, will surely continue to do so in the future,” as highlighted in the article.

Before that, Moroccan football was facing serious issues leading to disappointing results, such as Atlas Lions’ failure after a group-stage exit in 1998 to qualify for another World Cup until 2018, as well as missing 3 editions of the Africa Cup of Nations in the 1990s.

The loopholes included talent identification, player development, and professionalization. However, FIFA acknowledged the new project, spearheaded by Lekjaa, that has changed the game.

Since Lekjaa’s appointment in 2017, Moroccan football has witnessed notable improvements across “all age groups and for the men’s and women’s game, with clubs also playing a key role.”

FIFA shed light on Lekjaa’s strategic plan focusing on developing sporting infrastructure as well as building and renovating stadiums. This has enabled the Kingdom to host the Africa Cup of Nations and successfully bid for the FIFA World Cup 2030 alongside Spain and Portugal.

Mohammed VI Football Academy, which was established in 2009, was also cited among the factors contributing to Moroccan Football’s success.

“It has become a gold mine for Morocco’s national teams and a key part in their success on the world stage,” mentioned FIFA, describing the results of the academy as “impressive.”

The Federation’s initiative to establish youth foundations has also resulted, according to FIFA, in the identification and development of talented players, with “many going to Europe to play professionally” and others “raising the level of Moroccan clubs’ performance in international competitions.

Women’s football has also thrived, with AS FAR winning the CAF Women’s Champions League in 2022 and the Atlas Lionesses reaching the Women’s World Cup round of 16 in 2023.

Funding of $500,000 from FIFA in 2020 to overcome the impact of COVID-19, also contributed to the development of youth and women’s football in the Kingdom, including hiring Reynald Pedros as the women’s national team head coach and identifying Moroccan talent in Europe while developing local talents.

FIFA also appreciated the federation’s strategy in tapping into the Moroccan diaspora for both the men’s and women’s teams, leading to improvements on both sides.

Moroccan coaches have also been given opportunities to learn and demonstrate their ability, which resulted in a notable presence at all age groups of the national teams.

“After years in the doldrums, Morocco became a big name in football thanks to a comprehensive project, long-term planning, and a belief in the rewards to be gained from continued hard work,” concluded FIFA in its new article.

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