The festivities in Morocco reached new heights as the Atlas Lions booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Fifa World Cup on Tuesday with a hard-fought penalty shoot-out victory over Spain.
In South Africa, supporters are left with no choice but to either follow the African contingent left at the World Cup or pray that one of the greats (Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo) finally gets their hands on the biggest trophy in all of sports.
IOL Sports’ Smiso Msomi names three things South Africa can learn from Morocco:
Establish a sustainable country-wide football model
A proven successful footballing model utilised around the world is one of succession and requires the governing bodies in charge of decision-making to have a vision that exceeds 10-15 years.
Spain, Germany, and France have all established sustainable country-wide footballing models as the game continues to evolve and grow.
Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco have all followed suit and therefore it comes as no surprise that clubs hailing from those countries dominate the continental club scene.
The rewards of placing their faith in local development methods and aligning them with world standards has seen Morocco make their first quarter-final appearance since 1998.
While there is competition between local clubs (rightly so), their ongoing refusal to work hand-in-hand with the national team coach Hugo Broos will continue to hamper the potential to be a great footballing nation once more.
Broaden the selection criteria at all levels
For many years, calls for a more inclusive Bafana Bafana have assaulted the ears of every coach that has stepped into the managerial seat.
Some of the best players to come out of South Africa departed for European shores at a young age.
The current Morocco squad consists of 14 players that ply their trade abroad and the key figures in their recent success are players that were either born in or play in Europe but are of Moroccan descent.
The key element in broadening the national team’s selection criteria is a consistent process across all age groups.
The likes of Benni McCarthy and Steven Pienaar are prime examples of the kind of quality our national team could utilise against some of the biggest names on the continent.
Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure
Former Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane recently spoke out about the need to build the kind of infrastructure that would facilitate the process of football growth on our shores.
The experienced mentor mentioned that while Safa might not possess the kind of financial muscle Morocco has, it is an urgent call for lovers of the beautiful game in the country to band together in the construction of such structures.
Morocco recently unveiled one of many multimillion Rand academy bases, the kind of direction our own should work towards.