Some good news for Morocco following the devastating earthquake earlier this month, after it was named host of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations final.
After a unanimous vote by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), it will now replace Guinea that was stripped of its rights last year due to fears about the readiness of its facilities.
A mother watching her son at football practice following the announcement on Wednesday said it was “amazing news” for Moroccans.
“It will make Morocco known, it will also put Moroccan football on the map. It will definitely motivate even the children,” said Leila Taoussi.
“My child, for example, started taking an interest in football just after Morocco participated in the World Cup in Qatar. This is good news for me. "
The Moroccan team were the big surprise of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, making a sensational run to the semi-finals.
At the pitch, a coach of the children’s football team said people had been expecting the long-awaited good news about hosting the final, given the work of the president of the federation and the king, and Morocco’s infrastructure.
“This enables us to host this kind of big competition. We hope that this will be a good opportunity for us to win this cup, which we have not won since 1976," said Mohamed Laarif.
Morocco was in fact the only contender to host the AFCON final, after Algeria, Zambia, and a joint bid from Benin and Nigeria withdrew ahead of the vote.
CAF President, Patrice Motsepe, said this was to support Morocco’s bid to co-host the 2030 World Cup together with Spain and Portugal.
The 2025 finals will be only the second time that Morocco will host what is Africa's most popular sporting event.