After the feat in Qatar, Morocco again "at the center" of the world of football

The FIFA Club World Cup which opened on Wednesday in Tangier represents a “great moment” for Morocco which, after the feat at the World Cup in Qatar, finds itself again “at the center” of the world of football. , estimates the American chain CNN.

“Less than six weeks after the national team’s remarkable performance at the World Cup, Morocco finds itself at the center of world football by hosting the FIFA Club World Cup”, underlines CNN in a long report on its website by Alasdair Howorth.

For the big American media, this competition is “the Holy Grail for the rest of the world”.

Since 2005, the Club World Cup has been played annually, featuring the six winners of each continent’s equivalent of the European Champions League tournament, as well as one club from the host country, CNN recalls.

For the past decade, European sides have dominated the tournament, last losing a match when Brazilian club Corinthians beat Chelsea in the 2012 final.

Fourteen times winner of the European Cup, Real Madrid begins the 2023 competition with the status of “big favorite”, according to the US media.

“No African club has ever won the Club World Cup,” recalls CNN, which reports the enthusiasm of Moroccan fans, convinced that in a home tournament, the team can channel the historic success of the Lions of ‘Atlas and maybe even lift the trophy.

“We had a very good World Cup with the Qatar national team,” a WAC fan told CNN Sports. “Everyone is talking about us, and we know that we will be very popular in this Club World Cup”.

“Expectations are high for the club with tickets for Wydad’s first game against Al Hilal selling out in less than two hours as Casablanca fans make the hour-long journey to Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat. , with a capacity of 53,000 seats,” writes the American media.

Despite the domination of Europe, this competition is “still taken seriously in Brazil as it was 40 years ago”, notes the author of the report.

“I believe that for us, for the Brazilian and South American fans, winning the World Cup [des clubs] is an incredible feat,” a Brazilian fan told CNN Sports, adding that this feeling is “not limited to South America.”

Pitso Mosimane, who led Egypt’s Al Ahly to back-to-back bronze medals in 2020 and 2021, said the Club World Cup was the “highlight” of his career.

“He’s the pinnacle of any club coach,” he told CNN Sport. “What is the biggest tournament you want to play? Some would say the Champions League, but the Champions League takes you to the Club World Cup”.

And even in a format which, according to Mosimane, favors European and South American teams by giving them access to the semi-finals, the Club World Cup is an opportunity for fans of the Sounders, Al Ahly, Wydad or Auckland City to gain the respect enjoyed by Real Madrid by “the strength of its geography”.

The current tournament in Morocco is the last Club World Cup to be held under the current format. It will be transformed into a 32-team tournament played every four years, starting in 2025.

Given that the tournament is being held at the same time as the major leagues in Europe and just weeks before the resumption of the Champions League, FIFA has recognized, according to CNN, that it must “both expand the tournament and find a moment that does not clash with the big clubs”.

For non-Europeans, “an expanded Club World Cup, if staged correctly, is a potential opportunity for those seen as less favored clubs to take their place alongside European teams at the top of world football” . For Mosimane and others, the Club World Cup is “the only chance for players, coaches and fans to compete against the best,” notes CNN.

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