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Destination Morocco 2025: Maghreb ready to host AFCON for the second time

Morocco is rapidly cementing its place as the premier destination for football on the African continent. Even though the kingdom has invested significantly in the sport, it has only once hosted the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

In 1988, Morocco enjoyed the privilege of taking over from original hosts Zambia who had failed to put up infrastructure for the then 8-nation competition.

A similar opportunity presented itself late last year when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) stripped Guinea of hosting rights for the 2025 AFCON.

Feeling the time is right, Morocco tossed its hat into the ring as a replacement host competing with neighbors Algeria, Zambia, and a co-hosting bid by Nigeria-Benin.

On the sidelines of a successful hosting of the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup, Morocco showed it is ahead of the game in terms of infrastructure and organizational capabilities. It led several African journalists on a tour showcasing readiness in terms of the facilities that the country is parading – from stadiums to training facilities, a smooth and efficient transport system (land, seas, air), the hospitality and tourism sector and health infrastructure – needed to host the flagship continental football fiesta.

Morocco’s bid to host AFCON for the second time includes six modern stadiums with over 45,000-seat capacity in Agadir, Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, and Fez.

Speaking exclusively to Juliet Bawuah, the advisor to the president of the Royal Morocco Football Federation, Omar Khyari stated:

“Since 2014 under the presidency of Mr. Fouzi Lekjaa, we have created our own football development model. This is based on the improvement and construction of new football infrastructure. So we built stadiums and we now have six with the homologation of CAF and FIFA.

“Our long term plan is to be one of the main countries in terms of men’s, women’s and youth football.

Under the regime of His Majesty the King of Morocco Mohammed VI, in 2008 he gave this long-term vision for sports. Morocco wants to be in a strong place in international sports. We, at the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, are trying our best at the local level to implement the vision of our king.”

These facilities that the North Africans are parading have been home to a number of African countries who fall short of CAF’s strict licensing requirements for Category A international matches.

“For us, we think that the success of African football will never be individual but collective. That’s why we share our infrastructure by putting it at the disposal of other Football Associations in Africa.

“Today, we have more than 45 partnerships with African federations. They are win-win partnerships and we are proud of that,” Omar added, emphasizing the importance of collaboration.

Morocco is not only bidding to host AFCON 2025 but has its sights on the 2030 World Cup despite being unsuccessful in five previous attempts – the 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2026 editions.

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