The 2022 World Cup has been one of a kind. Not only is it the first tournament to be hosted in the Arab world, the first tournament held outside of the traditional European summer and, on the pitch, will be the first World Cup to see an African team in the semi-finals.
After the likes of Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana had come close in the past only to agonisingly miss out, Morocco made World Cup history following their monumental 1-0 quarter-final victory over Portugal.
The Atlas Lions will go head-to-head with defending champions France for a chance to possibly make history again by reaching the final, but even if their journey is to end in the semis, they will still be forever remembered for their efforts.
After his decisive spot kick in the penalty shootout win against Spain in the last 16, Achraf Hakimi drew the attention of the cameras when he went over to celebrate with his mum in the crowd and was photographed receiving a proud kiss on the cheek. He acted similarly after Morocco’s quarter-final victory against Portugal, clambering into the stands to embrace her. After the Spain game, he posted a picture of them together captioned: “I love you mum”.
Al Jazeera has reported that Regragui and Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, have ensured that family members chosen by the players have received all-inclusive trips to Qatar. Parents are ever-present at the Wyndham Doha West Bay hotel, Morocco’s World Cup base, with Abdelhamid Sabiri’s mum and dad also familiar faces around the team camp.
Morocco’s greatest achievements have been the the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations, the two African Nations Championships, the famous 1986 side who reached the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Image Credit: Glyn KIRK / AFP