When it comes to the African continental football, North African countries most specially, Egypt cannot be written off with giants strides being chalked on both CAF’s top tier and domestic club’s competitions.
As the world ushered itself into the newest millennium, Ghana held the footballing success on the continent only to be toppled by Egypt two decades later with seven AFCON triumphs bearing the touch of history in Africa’s loved sport, football.
Recently, another North African country, Morocco has attracted all the crowds and gatherings from predominantly Africa for all the right reasons and purposes with impressive facilities and higher investment into their sporting activities.
More recently, the finalists of both the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup saw one Egyptian side Al Ahly and two Moroccan teams, Wydad Casablanca and RS Berkane with the latter lifting the envious InterClub trophies on the continent.
One will ask why the sudden rise and dominance of Moroccan teams and the country’s speed of pace on the continent for sporting events?
The success of Moroccan football has not been by accident or fluke but years of extensive investment and development strategic plan both in relation to their men’s top tier league, the women’s professional league.
Hence, trickling positive effect on their national teams.
I had been to Morocco trying to figure out the hidden secret for their success.
My first visit landed me at Fath Union Sports Rabat, popularly called FUS Rabat.
Once a CAF Confederation Cup winner in the year 2016 and six times domestic King’s Cup champions having affiliations with teams across the La Liga and French Ligue Un for sporting cooperations.
FUS Rabat, per their top notch facilities, had their stadium host 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) games for Group C as well as some quarterfinals stages.
Three years ago, The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (RMFF) unveiled the 2021-2024 development strategy pathway for the growth and expansion of women’s football in the country.
The hosting of WAFCON sprung up after two years of hosting Women’s football summit in city, Marrakech.
The RMFF President, Fouzi Lekjaa placed ultimate lens on Women’s league’s, grassroots development, regional and the national teams’ administration as targeted areas of growth with the aim of lifting the value of female football by setting a participatory business strategy ably and heavily assisted by once CAF General Secretary, Hajji Mouad, who stepped down from his position at CAF to help give a spectacular facelift to his country’s footballing future.
Morocco female’s football strategy has been built on three core areas of development. Consisting primarily of sporting development, financial investment and technical growth.
The sporting aspect involved the launching of a professional women’s league with its top and second tier divisions and establishment of a national championship for players U-17 years of age, and regional championships for the youngest groups.
The financial area saw a rapid rise of the annual grant allocated to women’s football clubs – 120 million Moroccan Dirham for first national division clubs and 80 million Moroccan Dirham for second national division clubs.
The federation also gave 10 million Moroccan Dirham to the regional bodies to advance women’s football, with full compliance to the original plan.
Technically, they planned to raise the number of girls and women playing football across the country to ninety thousand in 2024, and form one thousand technical frameworks for the women’s football clubs.
This scripted blueprint for their women’s football growth, advancement and further dominance has thus, led their two female side’s, the national team, The Atlas Lionesses to their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup after clinching silver in the 2022 WAFCON finals hosted in Morocco and also their maiden appearance in the Women’s U-17 World Cup which the hosting right recently stripped from India, the supposed host.
The status quo for women’s football dominance in West Africa is gradually taking a shift to the Northern side of our continent. Thus, Morocco holding the touch and paving the way for a taste of historical significance chalked during a semifinal encounter between Morocco and Nigeria establishing a record attendance of 45,562 in Africa Women’s football at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sport Complex Stadium in Rabat.
Per their excellent facilities, including Mohammed VI Football Complex, an ultra modern hub serving as beacon of hope for breeding Morocco next generation of sports athletes, the national is certainly set to rule African Women’s football in not too distant future.
The country has witnessed the successful organization of the African Games (12th Edition – 2019) in Rabat, the just ended WAFCON, an upcoming CAF Women’s Champions League (2nd Edition) as well as the CAF U-23 AFCON serving as a qualification grounds for Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Indeed one can only accept the North African side as the country of light and indeed the flaming fire for African sports.