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Morocco coach: ‘Unattainable’ prime European golf equipment would rent Arab supervisor

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Morocco coach Walid Regragui is hoping that his staff’s success on the 2022 World Cup opens the door for coaches from Africa and the Arab world on the highest ranges of European membership soccer.  

The North African nation upset Spain within the spherical of 16, eliminating one of many title favorites in a penalty kick shootout to change into simply the fourth nation from the continent — and the primary largely Arab nation — to achieve the final eight of the competitors.  

Morocco’s Cinderella story at Qatar 2022 continues Saturday, when the Atlas Lions tackle Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal within the quarterfinals (10 a.m. ET, FOX and the FOX Sports activities app). With a win, they might change into the one African facet to progress to the semis.  

“There are moments in historical past that make those that change their thoughts, and it is upon us, the Arab and African cultures, to point out that we’re prepared,” Regragui mentioned. He additionally desires to point out that coaches from outdoors the normal soccer hotbeds of Europe and South American can handle prime membership groups. Gamers from sub-Saharan Africa have starred in a few of the world’s prime home circuits for many years. Extra not too long ago, gamers from North Africa, comparable to Egypt’s Mohamed Salah of Liverpool and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez of Manchester Metropolis, have change into family names for followers of the game throughout the globe.

However few African and/or Arab coaches have gotten alternatives with Champions League contenders. “I feel it is not possible that Manchester Metropolis or Barcelona will convey an Arab coach,” Regragui mentioned. “They do not even give it some thought, as if we’re undeserving, as if we’re ignorant in soccer, or we’re incapable of such a activity.” 

On the worldwide stage at the least, issues appear to be altering. Every of the 5 African groups at Qatar 2022 have been managed by African coaches — the primary time that’s occurred. When Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) reached the quarterfinals, they have been led by Europeans.

“When you’ve gotten 5 African coaches, you’ve gotten extra possibilities that if the outcomes are there, these coaches can be seen,” Regragui mentioned, including that soccer officers in Morocco have been skeptical about his skill at first, and that most of the nation’s main sports activities journalists most popular that the federation go for skilled foreigner as a substitute. Former defender Regragui performed in France and Spain throughout his profession however solely coached golf equipment in Morocco and Qatar earlier than touchdown the nationwide staff job earlier this yr. Greater than half of the coaches within the Atlas Lions’ historical past have been born outdoors the nation.  

“Expertise would not matter,” Regragui mentioned. “It is expertise. It would not matter your background, faith, tradition, the place you’re from. Expertise are the one measure.” 

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Doug McIntyre is a soccer author for FOX Sports activities. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a workers author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities and he has coated United States males’s and girls’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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