Morocco is carrying abundant hopes of being the second African country to host the FIFA World Cup after they launched their bid to stage the biggest football competition in the world. The North African country is making its fifth bid to host the tournament, and is facing a strong battle with the joint bid of Canada, United States and Mexico.
In the sporting fraternity, Morocco’s ambitions are being felt hard as they keep pressing on as regards their intention to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Morocco has the full backing of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Their preparation towards this seemingly herculean task has been mired in obscurity, but now that their intentions are crystal-clear they are now keen on winning this bid.
The decision on who will host the 2026 World Cup will be announced when the 2018 World Cup in Russia commences. The 2026 World Cup bids were excluding European and Asian confederations (Russia is hosting the 2018 edition and Qatar is hosting the 2022 edition). This gave Morocco a window of hope through which they hope they will secure the rights to host the competition.
In its undying ambition and fervent tenacity with the hope of securing the place one day, Morocco has been unsuccessful in four bids. These are 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010. Competition from the Canada-United States-Mexico joint bid is very stiff, and a realistic approach into this will show how much work the Moroccans have to put in if they want to host the 2026 World Cup.
Morocco is looking to change all that and has appointed Elalamy, a government minister, to lead the bid while former Confederation of African Football Secretary General Hicham El Amrani will be its chief executive.
"Morocco has made rapid progress since 2003 - in sport, infrastructure, hotels, airports, motorways and public transport networks," said Talbi El Alami, Morocco's minister of youth and sports. A total of 48 teams, rather than the current 32, will compete at an expanded tournament in 2026 after changes announced by Fifa earlier this year.
The capacity to host the tournament is very much well-placed within Morocco. The country has some of the best sporting infrastructure on the continent. In 2016, FIFA president Gianni Infantino considered that Morocco is "capable, in terms of infrastructure and organisation, of hosting a World Cup".
It will come down to how much they manage to fight off the competition from the North American joint bid, and how they go about their marketing.