Home » AFCON 2025: Africa’s best chance to justify a readiness for second FIFA World Cup host through Morocco

AFCON 2025: Africa’s best chance to justify a readiness for second FIFA World Cup host through Morocco

by Lesley Ngwa
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Africa can put itself in an advantage position in the 2030 FIFA World Cup race if the AFCON 2025 hosts rights is accorded a country that’s readymade for such an event .

A fantastic AFCON 2025 event can be used as bargain to get the rights to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

The continent’s only opportunity to host the event which started 93 years ago was given to FIFA’s biggest Confederation in 2010.

Weird as it may sound, South Africa 2010 was Africa’s first and only chance so far.

But how is Africa helping not it’s case?

Many are those that have made the loud call that FIFA should give a chance to Morocco to host the global event. FIFA has gone as far as certifying the country to have the standards required to host the FIFA World Cup. However, the big question is how can others trust your own more than you do?

Yes, it looks like others trust Morocco more than Africa!!! It’s true that Moroccans has been host of a number of CAF women’s competitions in recent years, but the same can’t be said about the senior men’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Morocco last AFCON tournament as Hosts was that tournament in 1988. That’s quite a long time for a country that has it all to stage a befitting event.

Morocco is becoming a specialist in hosting the Club World Cup these days. The country is presently home of the tournament for the third time in the last ten years.

FIFA handed the hosts rights for the 2022 Club World Cup in February, with an expanded 32-team edition in 2025 in mind.

European champion Real Madrid, South American champion Flamengo and Seattle Sounders, the first CONCACAF Champions League winner from the United States, will play in the traditional seven-team tournament from Feb. 1-11. After Morocco’s inspiring run to the World Cup semi-final in Qatar, the country is now staging the global football event.

It will be one of the last seven-team editions for continental champions with an expanded, month-long tournament planned to start in 2025.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the intended change was “making it really like a World Cup.” In Morocco, two cities are set to provide entertainment in the 10-day competition, which features continental champions from each of the six confederations in world football.

Wydad won Africa’s Champions League last season and also the Moroccan league. The team is based in Casablanca, where the 67,000-seat Stade Mohammed V has been the venue for some epic matches but will provide its blessing to stadia in Tangiers and Rabat.

Morocco also hosted Club World Cups in 2013 and 2014, which were won by Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, respectively.

Only European and South American teams have won the Club World Cup since it was revived in the current format in 2005. FIFA has long wanted to launch an expanded version with 24 or 32 teams in a tournament played in June.

A planned inaugural edition in 2021 in China was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, though no tournament format had been agreed nor broadcasters or sponsors signed. A 2025 launch is now planned, Infantino said, promising talks with football stakeholders.

It could be hosted in the United States and serve as a test event for the 2026 World Cup, which is being hosted in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Almost all tickets have already been sold, a small proof that shows just how much excitement there is for the competition and that the global euphoria still seems to be in place.

“We have just come out of an extraordinary period with the World Cup, where Morocco reached the semi-finals for the first time and the Moroccans lived a glorious epic and experienced repeated collective joy. Today there is a lack of this joy and the Club World Cup is the opportunity for Moroccans to relive this unforgettable moment with Wydad Casablanca. I think that beyond the Wydad fans, there are also all the football lovers of the last World Cup who will want to relive a great emotion with this World Cup”, said one Wydad supporter.

Idir Moukhlis, a project manager and Wydad fan in the Middle Atlas city of Ifrane, intends to catch the Club World Cup on TV after missing out on the chance to buy tickets.

“I feel a sense of pride, especially since Wydad qualified as the champion from the African continent and not as a team of the host country,” he told kick442.

A Moroccan club has never won the Club World Cup; the closest one came was when Raja Casablanca were runner-up a decade ago.

The Club World Cup has returned to Morocco for the third time after the 2013 and 2014 editions.
This represented an opportunity for African football to shine again through the participation of Wydad Casablanca and Al Ahly of Egypt.

It can also be seen as an avenue to create awareness about Morocco’s ability to host the 2025 AFCON and the FIFA.

Since the designation of Morocco as the host of the Club World Cup, both the capital Rabat and Tangier have reinforced their facilities, increased security in the stadiums and prepared the city for the arrival of clubs and fans. The competition is held between 1 and 11 February 2023. As was the case in Agadir and Marrakech in 2013, and in Rabat and Marrakech in 2014, Tangier and Rabat have prepared for the occasion. On both occasions the winners of the competition were the European team, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid respectively, but in a football that is becoming more and more evenly matched it is likely that we will see some surprises.

This year’s edition of the Club World Cup, known as the Mundialito, formerly known as the Intercontinental Cup, will be the 19th edition with the new format (63rd if we count from its birth) and will have seven participants: Real Madrid (Europe), Wydad Casablanca (Africa), Flamengo (Copa Libertadores champion), Seattle Sounders (CONCACAF), Auckland City (Oceania), Al-Hilal (Asia) and Al-Ahly (Africa). Among the favourites were Real Madrid as the main contenders to win the competition, the team from Africa, Al Ahly SC of Egypt and Flamengo as the representative of South American football but Flamengo got eliminated on Tuesday evening.

In 2018, Fifa inspectors visited Morocco to evaluate its suitability as a host for the 2026 World Cup. Their report raised questions about the ability of Morocco’s airports and trains to ferry fans between a dozen cities designated to host matches.

Morocco has made some major improvements to its infrastructure in recent years.
In 2018, the kingdom launched Africa’s first bullet train, Al Boraq. The train cut the trip from Rabat to Tangier from over five hours to an hour and 20 minutes.

The semi-final will be held in Tangier and the final will be in Rabat, and both sites have everything in place to host the competition in the best conditions. The organising committee has renovated the Ibn Battuta stadium in Tangier and the Mulay Abdelah stadium in Rabat (repair of the pitch and renovation of the facilities) to make them ready to host the matches.

Moroccan fans hope that a smooth Club World Cup could boost Morocco’s credentials to host the World Cup itself in 2030.

Among them is Souhaila Adrif, a Wydad supporter and journalist covering matches for Le Journal de Tanger.

“The Club World Cup and its success is a strong indicator that strengthens Morocco’s position and its ability to host the World Cup in 2030, especially after the Lions’ victories in Qatar,” she said.

Morocco is committed to making the new edition of the Club World Cup a success, as it has and possesses all the means and advantages to do so. Thanks to the vision of the Moroccan crown and a vibrant Federation.

The AFCON 2025 in Morocco will pave way for the country and continent to argue for it’s second FIFA World Cup host experience.

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