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Stadiums and corporate governance: How Morocco became a football force

Supporters cheer during the FIFA Club World Cup second round football match between Wydad AC and Al-Hilal at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on February 4, 2023   -  
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From defying the odds to reach a World Cup semi-final, winning the Women's Champions League title, reaching the finals of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations to Wydad Casablanca's success in the Champions League, 2022 was particularly successful for Moroccan soccer.

That success did not come overnight. The country has spent years investing in modern sports infrastructure. It now boasts of six FIFA approved stadiums.

In recent years, the kingdom has built a reputation for hosting major footballing competitions.

"The big stadiums of the kingdom have been built since 2006 to meet the specifications and standards for the organization of competitions at the continental level but also at the international level. The big stadium of Marrakech is one of them... These stadiums allow us to receive these events but also in terms of evolution of the Moroccan championship and Moroccan skills," said Rachid Neyfi, the director of Marrakech stadium.

At Raja's academy in Casablanca, Morocco's strategy to become a football giant becomes even more clearer. 

The pitches are pristine and the gyms well equipped. The facilities are on par with those found in industrialized countries.

"First, we focused on infrastructure, we have built new infrastructure such as the Mohamed VI complex," said Omar Khyari, an advisor to the President of Morocco's football federation.

 "We also worked on the creation of training centers for our youth, for our clubs. We have also worked on the creation of training centers for our youth, for our clubs. Today we have inaugurated the Raja academy in Casablanca and the academy in Berkane ... Then we worked on the governance of clubs. If we want to have a good national soccer team, one of the best, we need strong clubs. To have solid clubs, they must have healthy finances run by sound a management team," he added.

A strategy that today makes Morocco a hub of African and world soccer. A major argument in its bid to host the CAN 2025, a tournament it last organized in 1988.

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