Moroccan followers maintain up a duplicate of the World Cup, a trophy Africa has by no means gained, throughout their historic Qatar 2022 marketing campaign
Africa will win the World Cup “within 15-20 years”, says Morocco’s Walid Regragui, who has come nearer than any coach to delivering the long-held aim.
Underneath Regragui’s management, the Atlas Lions turned the primary African group to compete in a World Cup semi-final, the place they had been defeated by eventual runners-up France.
The 47-year-old believes that Africa will likely be strengthened sooner or later by having greater than 5 representatives for the primary time from 2026 onwards.
“At the next World Cup, we will have nine places that will allow us to learn more,” Regragui stated.
“Within 15-20 years, I am convinced that an African team will win the World Cup. Because we will come back every time and learn more, and so our young people will have World Cup football in their DNA.”
Africa has had 5 groups within the finals since 1994 – an allocation considerably lower than Europe (13), another than South America, which has far fewer international locations and stage with Asia (when the continent doesn’t host).
But Africa’s tally will nearly double for 2026 and will attain 10 itself if considered one of its sides makes it by means of an intercontinental World Cup play-off to resolve the ultimate representatives.
The continent’s sides have typically struggled to succeed in the knockout levels, failing to get any group by means of in 2018 and all the time delivering one for the reason that 1994 enlargement besides when two groups progressed in each 2014 and 2022.
“Our problem as African teams, without being too critical, is that we only have five places, so that means Egypt could not participate this time, nor Nigeria, South Africa, Mali etc,” stated the previous Morocco worldwide.
“So, every time, because we are pitted against each other (to qualify), it is more complicated (to build World Cup experience).”
After Saturday’s third play-off loss to Croatia, who’ve now completed on the rostrum in half of the six World Cups they’ve contested, Regragui stated their common presence helps clarify the exceptional document.
“(Jose) Mourinho – while he was at Manchester United – talked about the club’s DNA, but I think this is there for national teams as well,” stated one man who gained the African Champions League earlier this yr.
“Why are European teams always (in the later stages of the World Cup)? Croatia – why did they beat us and come third? Because they have more experience at this level, they always qualify for the World Cup.
“From taking part in each World Cup and taking part in these kind of matches again and again, they allow you to study, younger gamers study. It lets your gamers come again stronger subsequent time.”
After a credible showing at the 2018 World Cup – their first in 20 years – Morocco returned this year to register back-to-back tournaments for the first time since 1994-1998.
In Qatar, Morocco achieved their stunning progress despite taking on three of the world’s top-ranked teams: Belgium (2), Spain (7), Portugal (9), while having 2018 runners-up Croatia in the group stage.
“We have years of expertise when you have got the chance to play Croatia twice in a event, which is a top-three group on this planet,” the Morocco coach added.
“Taking part in Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Canada, it is extraordinary – all huge video games.”
After conceding just one goal in their first five matches in Qatar, Morocco were blanked when they lost 2-0 to France in Wednesday’s semi-final, before Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Croatians.
Although Regragui was bitterly disappointed at the failure to become the first African team to either reach a final or finish third, he expects the enormity of his side’s achievements to sink in soon.
“We’re disillusioned however after we get up we are going to notice simply what we’ve got achieved,” he said.
“After the ultimate we are going to assessment issues, and we are going to notice that Morocco’s marketing campaign was extraordinary. Now there will likely be extra stress on us.”
The coach fully expects the rest of the continent’s top sides to also come under increased scrutiny in the future.
“There will be more expectations now for other African teams who want to go on the same kind of run that we achieved.
“Morocco has shown that (African teams) are capable and not far away (the top teams), so the difference between European teams and African teams is less than it has ever been, and it is about the very small details.
“Will probably be an actual increase for African soccer.”