‘Morocco a shining example for the continent’ – Dr Motsepe

Confederation of African Football President (CAF) Dr Patrice Motsepe says Morocco’s run to the semifinals of the World Cup in Qatar should be celebrated across the continent and viewed as a step closer to an African team lifting the trophy.

Dr Motsepe briefed journalists in Johannesburg on Wednesday and says Morocco’s success shows what can be achieved when governments and their football associations work hand-in-hand to develop the game in their countries.

“I will never accept that an African nation cannot compete at the highest level in the world,” Dr Motsepe said. “Morocco has opened the door and made us proud. I am confident that in the next World Cup (in 2026), an African nation will go further.

“Our aim is to go further and the main objective is an African nation to lift the trophy. We have to believe. We have all done things in our lives that at the times appeared very difficult. But we achieved.

“I believe there are 10 nations in Africa right now that can compete on the highest level and win. Maybe even 15. We have to encourage every single one of the 54 nations in Africa (to grow). The future of African football is extremely bright.”

Motsepe says that in order for the game to grow on the continent, there is a partnership needed between football and government in many nations, and that is an area he would like to see improved in the coming years.

“There are so many countries in Africa that do not invest (in their football). Some governments, the support is not what it should be,” he says.

“The success of Morocco is not by coincidence. Many African countries should learn from Morocco and be inspired by their investment. The young boys’ and girls’ facilities …

“I want to encourage heads of state to do the same. Football gives us dignity … we don’t have the technology many western countries have; they have invested over many years. But we will get there.

Motsepe says he hopes that football will continue to be a unifier across the continent.

“The beauty of the people of this continent is what we can do together when we unite. Football is at the heart of it and we use football to bring people together, people from different racial backgrounds and races.

“When every African nation plays on the global sphere, we are all Moroccans, Ghanaians, Tunisians and Egyptians.

“We must focus on the positive, things that bring us together and unite us, from Cape Town to Cairo. These are proud moments for football in Africa. The key issue for us now is we must follow through with focus and hard work.

“The success of CAF depends on the success of football in every nation. You cannot talk about a CAF that is doing well and the quality, growth and success of football in any one of the 54 countries is not as it should be.

“We are here to support everyone in the leadership in Africa. Every young boy and girl, we must encourage them to enjoy and love football. And tell them they have the capacity to play at the highest level in the world, and compete and win.”