At the start of the 2022 World Cup, it was unfathomable that Morocco would emerged as the most inspirational story.
On the way to the semifinals, they have broken several continental records and taken out some of the traditional giants of world football.
Amidst all this, several theories have emerged about their fairytale run; right from luck, the draw or fate, but there is no denying that the underlying aspects of their lofty achievements is down to proper planning.
It all starts with personnel and as we have seen with the Moroccan team, more than half of the team was born outside the country, especially in Europe, but were persuaded to choose Morocco over the more affluent nations.
This includes the likes of goalie Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui and Hakim Ziyech, among others. On paper, one can easily argue that the aforementioned players of Moroccan heritage stood little chance to make the squads of Spain, France, Netherlands or Belgium but when put into a Ugandan perspective, would these players have committed to us in the same situation? The answer is an overwhelming NO!
Morocco’s organized football setup is what attracted these foreign-born players to commit themselves unlike Uganda, where everything about football is riddled with corruption and favouritism.
Fufa receives an excess of about Shs 30bn every year but its priorities are not to develop the game but instead create room for officials to manipulate the sport.
When a Fufa president goes crying out on social media about the delay to avail the national Under-23 team funds of about Shs 100m, you may think there is a crisis at the federation but the same person donated a Shs 700m car days earlier. It is not the lack of funds; it is the lack of priorities.
So, Morocco’s success is not overnight but it took years of planning to be at par with the global football powers. Morocco has invested heavily in football and that’s why several continental tournaments are going their way.
Every day is a learning experience for Moroccans; right from the top European professionals to the downtrodden Africans. Have you noticed that whenever there is a conflict in Africa, football matches are shifted to the neutral ground of Morocco?
Just a few years ago, Uganda had to play a crucial World Cup qualifier against Senegal in Morocco. So, as we dream to be like Morocco, we need to reflect about our state of football. What we are doing is simply admiring and retaining the same retrogressive approach to the game.
Fufa received more than $7m during the Covid-19 period to mitigate the situation but there is nothing tangible one can relate to apart from constructing buildings and creating a television station. Even when it comes to personnel, we operate by managing a crisis.
The current Cranes team is neither here or there. Players who are over-the-hill are mixed with youngsters and we still hope to get results against the best. What a waste!
Recently, Fufa president Moses Magogo came out to tell the country that we plan to bid to co-host the 2027 Afcon but sincerely, is there anything to show for this?
We simply cannot compete because we are not prepared. And since we have nothing to show for, we will continue cheering on teams like Morocco as a form of solace for our undoing. What a sad state of affairs for our game!
The author is SC Villa first vice president in charge of mobilization