Morocco will not host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations: Sports Minister

Morocco will not be a candidate to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after Cameroon were stripped of the tournament, the country’s sports minister has confirmed. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Morocco will not host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations: Sports Minister

RABAT: Morocco will not be a candidate to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after Cameroon were stripped of the tournament, the country’s sports minister Rachid Talbi Alami said on Wednesday.

“Morocco does not intend to run for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and will not do so,” he told AFP.

Earlier this year, North America were picked as hosts of the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a US-led bid over a Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament.

The soccer showpiece will return to the US for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow.

Meanwhile, Spain and Portugal had considering a joint intercontinental bid with Morocco to host the 2030 tournament, after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited Rabat and discussed the possibility with Morocco's King Mohamed VI.

Sanchez was on a visit to the Moroccan capital of Rabat and met with Prime Minister Saadedin Al Othmani and King Mohamed to discuss the possibility of bidding for world soccer's global showpiece tournament.


A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

Updated 20 March 2019
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A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

  • Can the Whites and Green Falcons find the back of the net more often?
  • Both teams need to set the tone ahead of the important World Cup qualifiers.

LONDON: Ahead of Thursday’s friendly between the UAE and Saudi Arabia Arab News looks at the main priorities for both sides as they embark on their new eras after the Asian Cup and ahead of the all-important the World Cup qualifiers.

FIND THOSE SCORING BOOTS

For the past 18 months both sides have struggled for goals. Under Alberto Zaccheroni the UAE scored just 10 goals in the past nine matches — five of those coming against lowly Kyrgyzstan and India — and likewise the Green Falcons have also struggled to find the back of the net. Heading toward the World Cup qualifiers, now is the time to find those scoring boots.

PUT ON A SHOW

Both sides have technically gifted players, can keep the ball and at times trouble opposition defenses. But both have been too defensive, too safety-first and, at times, too dull. Football is supposed to be entertainment, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifiers might be no bad time to throw caution to the wind and see what the players can do in the final third.

SET THE TONE

As the modern cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. With all the sackings and player movements, it is not hard to see the kernel of truth in that overused saying. But, conversely, time can also move very fast in the “Beautiful Game.” It may be six months before the World Cup qualifiers begin, but it will be September before the coaches and players know it. Set the tone and tactics now and triumphs will be easier to come by then and, more importantly, further into the future.