Morocco are an African football powerhouse, to say the least.
Last December, they climbed up to 11th in the FIFA World Rankings, consequently displacing Senegal from the top on the African continent.
That move was greatly inspired by their fairytale run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar where they became the first African side to reach the semis.
In that run, the Atlas Lions topped a tough group that had Belgium and 2018 World Cup runners up Croatia, before ousting Spain and Ronaldo’s Portugal.
And the gallant team received a heroes welcome back home, with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI decorating the Players, Coach Walid Regragui and the President of the Moroccan FA Faouzi Lekjaa with national honours.
Those in Morocco believe that this has been achieved after strategic planning and years of hard work.
And the country is confident it’s just the beginning, as they plot to take on the World.
Morocco are back-to-back CHAN Champions, they are Women AFCON Runners-up while their Clubs have dominated the region as well.
Wydad Casablanca are CAF Champions League title holders after beating Egypt’s Al Ahly last year.
RS Berkane won the CAF Confederation Cup title after beating South Africa’s Orlando Pirates on penalties 5-4.
ASFAR were last year crowned CAF Women’s Champions League winners after beating South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns 4-0.
And the side will be hosting the FIFA World Cup starting next month.
There has been a deliberate effort from Government and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation to achieve this enormous success, a blueprint African sides should copy.
Stats show that Morocco has more than 200 synthetic turf fields that meet the standards, about twenty stadiums with natural turf and lighting standards, five regional training centers and the famous Mohammed VI Football Complex, a unique infrastructure in Africa.
These facilities cover almost 30 hectares and offer state-of-the-art equipment in accordance with FIFA standards, making this jewel of Moroccan soccer one of the most important and efficient sports complexes in the world.
The FRMF has built a technical center, the Regional Center of Saidia, strongly inspired by the Mohammed VI Complex.
The development of infrastructure is accompanied by a school component, to try to tighten the net a little more and not miss any potential talent.
“We have started a Sport Etude program with the Ministry of National Education to have school structures throughout the Kingdom, which can accommodate boys and girls who practice soccer on a permanent basis with a program adapted to all levels of schooling,” said the President of the FRMF.
The FRMF supports the national clubs on the administrative and financial levels. On the one hand, the elite clubs are being transformed into limited companies and have been placed under the supervision of the National Directorate of Control and Management.
Also, the FRMF provides each first division club with an annual subsidy of approximately 600,000 euros. Not to mention the financial aid and support given to all clubs participating in continental competitions.
Women Football has not been left behind, the FRMF has implemented a Marshall Plan with a six-fold increase in the budget for women’s soccer, the establishment for the first time of a professional women’s league under the aegis of a dedicated institution, the National League of Women’s Football, also newly created.
The Country went on to hire French coach Reynald Pedros, two-time UEFA Women’s Champions League winner, as the National team coach.
Last year, the Country organized for the first time the women’s AFCON, which became a success and inspired more girls to take up football in the country especially after a great run for the Atlas Lionesses who went all the way to the final before falling to giants South Africa’s Banyana Banyana.
In addition, the U17 women team was one of the three African nations (others being Nigeria and Tanzania) to represent the Country at the 2022 FIFA U17 World Cup.
They finished third in Group A on their debut, with a good show despite defeats to Brazil and United States. They also beat hosts India.
And the FRMF has been supportive to fellow African Federations like donating sports equipment including thousands of balls that have been sent to more than 20 federations including Uganda.
And Morocco are strong candidates to clinch the bid to host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations ahead of other bids from Algeria, Zambia, South Africa and Nigeria-Benin.