• Loading stock data...
Friday, June 21, 2024

Morocco’s 13-Year Road to the World Cup Semi-Final

  • The king of Morocco established the Mohammed VI Football Academy in 2009.
  • Morocco's soccer federation also sought out and converted eligible players around Europe.
Morocco's starting line-up against France in the World Cup semi-final
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Morocco’s historic run to the 2022 World Cup semi-final — where it is the first African team to reach that stage — began in 2009.

That was the year Mohammed VI, the king of Morocco, established the Mohammed VI Football Academy — an institution designed to find and develop the best young footballers in the North African nation.

The facility covers 2.5 square kilometers and cost a reported $16.8 million to build. It features outdoor and indoor soccer pitches, a school with a teaching program supported by Morocco’s ministry of education, and a full-service medical center.

Nasser Larguet was tasked by Mohammed VI with heading up the Academy when it first launched. Per The Athletic, Larguet was hugely influential in not only discovering talent within Morocco, but also in seeking out eligible foreign-born players and convincing them to play for the Atlas Lions.

  • Achraf Hakimi (Spain)
  • Sofyan Amrabat (Netherlands)
  • Noussair Mazraoui (Netherlands)
  • Sofiane Boufal (France)
Moroccan fans hold up national flag and scarfs while supporting their team

Morocco Giving Away Tickets for World Cup Match

As many as 13,000 free tickets are being distributed to Moroccan fans.
December 13, 2022

Larguet is also credited with noticing Walid Regragui’s aptitude for managing early on.

Regragui has drawn much acclaim for his leadership three months into the job as the head of Morocco’s men’s national team — but his $618,000 salary pales in comparison to France’s Didier Deschamps, who is bringing in $3.8 million per year.

Deschamps is one of the most accomplished coaches in the World Cup, having won the tournament as both a player and manager — and being the only of the top four highest-paid managers in the world to make it to the semis.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

U.S. Hosts Copa América: A Milestone in Soccer’s Oldest Tournament

The U.S. hosting of the tournament follows a larger partnership between two major soccer federations.

Copa América’s Temporary Grass Sparks World Cup Stadium Debate

Six stadiums installed temporary natural grass fields.

Why U.S. Soccer Fans Can’t Watch Some Euro 2024 Games on Cable

The small number of matches are exclusively on the expensive streamer.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How Women’s Sports Media is Charting Its Own Path


Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

U.S. Cricket Stuns Goliath Behind Its Star, an Ivy League Software Engineer

Team USA upset Pakistan, one of cricket’s superpowers, in overtime.
May 6, 2024; Paris, FRANCE; A general view of construction of the Eiffel Tower Stadium, the venue for beach volleyball, in preparation for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
June 4, 2024

Microsoft Warns of Russian Olympic Disinformation Campaign

Russian actors used an AI-generated Tom Cruise in a fake propaganda film.
Jun 16, 2022; New York, New York, USA; A detail view of The FIFA World Cup Trophy sits on a stand outside of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
June 5, 2024

Saudi Arabia, Likely World Cup Host, Slammed With Workers’ Rights Abuse Claims

The nation needs to build at least 10 stadiums to host.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
Aug 18, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Julio Cesar La Cruz (CUB, red) faces Adilbek Niyazymbetov (KAZ, blue) during boxing final in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Riocentro - Pavilion
May 29, 2024

Discredited Boxing Organization Vows to Award Prize Money to Paris Olympians

The IBA, unrecognized by the IOC, vowed $50,000 to boxing gold medalists.
May 28, 2024

Here’s Why Cricket Is Having a Major American Moment

The U.S.’s Major League Cricket just received a key sanction—and credibility.
March 27, 2024

Ukraine’s Improbable Soccer Run Continues With Euros Qualification

The country reaches its first major soccer tournament since Russia’s invasion began.
March 6, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII Scores Big With International Viewers

The NFL gets a 10% global boost compared to last year.