FT's 10 Best Moments of 2018: #10 Morocco, the brave bidders from North Africa

Morocco fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Morocco at Luzhniki Stadium on June 20, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.  (June 19, 2018 - Source: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe)

Morocco fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Morocco at Luzhniki Stadium on June 20, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.

(June 19, 2018 - Source: Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe)

Looking at their opponents’ names and status in the sporting world and not least in politics, one would have mistaken Morocco’s dreams as a lame joke or fleeting fantasy. But they would be wrong, in every possible way.
— Dennis Takaendesa, FirstTouch Africa

At FirstTouch, we have a saying that goes like, “a year is never over until we close it.” In the spirit of that ideal, we took our time to look back at the ten most defining moments of 2018, as far as African football is concerned. Could you guess what they are? Finally, number 10 has arrived.

South Africa became the first African country to host a FIFA World Cup tournament back in 2010 and Morocco almost became the second or will probably become the second.

One of the hottest piece of news in the year 2018 was that of Morocco standing toe-to-toe with a joint bid from the USA-Canada-Mexico for the exclusive rights to host the 2026 tournament. Looking at their opponents’ names and status in the sporting world and not least in politics, one would have mistaken Morocco’s dreams as a lame joke or fleeting fantasy. But they would be wrong, in every possible way.

The North African country’s bid looked dapper and dapper by the day up to the final day where it would not have taken even a fortune teller to predict the winner. They had huge tracts of land ready to set up the proper infrastructure, a warm and peaceful enough environment to welcome people of all races, color, religions and creed as well as an effective world cup bid team travelling across Africa and the world to raise awareness. They were just ready.

Of course the votes came in from all of the world’s 150 football federations in June and the numbers weren’t in their favour. Its however pretty much safe to say that Morocco and Africa at large, were extremely proud of the Kingdom of Morocco’s stance. Of course not all African countries as some football federations from the continent opted for the other bid. Now, talks of a possible alliance between Spain and Morocco for a 2030 world cup joint have surfaced and the future couldn’t brighter for the African country’s football at this point.