Morocco’s coach, Walid Regragui, has said that his team is competing for Africa, not the Arab World, as some people claimed.
This comes after Morocco eliminated Spain on penalties in the round of 16 on Tuesday after the teams tied 0-0 in regulation and extra time, but Achraf Hakimi’s panenka Penalty sent them through to the World Cup quarterfinals.
With this, the North African team joined Senegal, Cameroon, and Ghana as the only teams in the content to ever progress to the quarterfinals of tournament since it existence in 1938.
However, after Morocco’s win over Spain, Coach Walid was asked if the team is playing to make the Arab world proud, to which he replied that he is absolutely playing under Africa and not the Arab World because he is not at the tournament to engage in politics.
According to him, he entered the tournament to promote the profile of African football rather than the Arab World, as others have attempted to do following their victory over the Spaniards.
Walid Regragui also said that it is past time for African teams to compete with the footballing powerhouses of Europe and South America.
“Often African football has been described as sub-par, not as good as elsewhere, but in this World Cup, I think we’ve shown we can give anyone a run for their money. We’re talking about European teams, South American teams, and I hope in the future we’ll be seeing more African teams. Why not an African World Cup champion in the future?”
“I am not here to be a politician. We want to fly Africa’s flag high just like Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon. We are here to represent Africa,” Walid told the media.
The World Cup resumes this Friday with the quarterfinals. Morocco will face Portugal at 15:00GMT on Saturday.
The 2022 World Cup finals, which will be held on Sunday, December 18, may feature favourites such as Argentina, Brazil, the Netherlands, France, and Portugal, but the quarterfinal and semi-final stages will determine who proceeds to the final stage of the competition.