Home Sports Qatar 2022: Finidi George Joins Others To Hail Moroccan Team

Qatar 2022: Finidi George Joins Others To Hail Moroccan Team

Finidi George
Finidi George

Super Eagles’ Assistant Coach, Finidi George has joined others to applaud the feat recorded by the Atlas Lions of Morocco at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

He reckoned that many problems plaguing football can be addressed if the country can follow the ‘tried and tested ‘part of the North Africans, TUNDE LIADI reports.

Super Eagles assistant coach, Finidi George has asserted that Nigeria has important lessons to learn from the superlative run of Morocco at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar as the North African side blazed the trail as the first team from the continent to reach the semi-finals at the Mundial.

George who is also the head coach of Enyimba stressed that the Atlas Lions’ feat in Qatar didn’t come as an accident rather through hard work, patience and concerted efforts geared towards improving the standards of the game at all levels.

At club levels, Wydad Athletic Club, Casablanca have won two of the last six competitions in the CAF Champions League ( 2017 & 2021-22) and were finalists once during the 2018-19 season under the same periods.

In the CAF Confederation Cup competition, two Moroccan giants, Raja Casablanca and RS Berkane have turned the competition to their birth rights. Both clubs have won four of the last five campaigns between 2018 and last season. The only exception season (2018-19), RS Berkane still got to the final before losing it.

In the Women’s football cadre, the Atlas Lionesses of Morocco created a massive upset beating the Super Falcons of Nigeria in the semi-final of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations they hosted in July this year while ASFAR women side are the current winners of the CAF Women’s Champions League after defeating reigning Champions, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies in the final played last month.

Finidi who is aware of the developmental strides in Morocco confessed that the North Africans are reaping the reward of their long term investment in youth and women’s programmes and that for Nigerian teams to be great again, the country’s football officials must follow the pattern used by Morocco.

Super Eagles have been a shadow of themselves in recent competitions and were eliminated for the first time in the second round of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. But they were not among the five countries that represented Africa in Qatar’s FIFA World Cup.

Incidentally, Nigerian clubs have not fared better on the continent in the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup.

Yet the former Ajax Amsterdam winger opined that it is not too late for Nigeria to make amends but that it must be a gradual and progressive approach, adding nobody should expect a quick fix solution to the myriads of problems bedeviling the sport.

“Morocco’s performance is due to long term investment in youth programme that they’re reaping now. It doesn’t just come overnight,” Finidi told NationSport. “It is the result of their concerted efforts to make changes.

“If you look at Morocco’s performance in football in the past five to seven years, one does not need a soothsayer to know that the feats were not accidental.

“We can follow their model and ensure the right things are done to get our football back and running.

“We must invest in youth programmes and also ensure we take it to the grassroots and be sincere about it. Our youth teams are meant to be developmental and nursery for senior national teams if we’ll coordinated. We can do it just like Morocco did.”

The ex- Ipswich and Real Mallorca winger exuded confidence that the Super Eagles have what it takes to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

“Super Eagles have always been there and will bounce back,” he said. “There’s a lot to take from Morocco performance because there’s no big teams in a tournament like the World Cup where all teams are striving to make lasting impressions.

“We have to build a competitive team ahead of Nation’s and World Cup qualifiers so that both competitions could be approached with a renewed vigour and determination not to fail this time around.”

The Enyimba gaffer said he has enjoyed every bit of the World Cup in Qatar and that despite the surprise defeats to Brazil (versus Cameroon), Argentina (versus Saudi Arabia), Germany (versus Japan) and Spain (versus South Korea and Morocco) the top teams still managed to claw their ways to the grand finale of the World Cup.

He praised the performance of Morocco who narrowly lost 2-0 to France in the semi-final , disclosing that the final between Argentina and France would be explosive and be action packed from beginning to the end.

“The World Cup has been fantastic with lots of surprises but we are now seeing the top teams emerge at the end with France and Argentina through to the final. It has been an exciting tournament and it will be very tough to pick who wins it between the two countries.

“The four teams that got to the semi- final all deserved their places. Any team that wins it deserve to because they’ve worked for it. We expect a good final game.”

Meanwhile, the 1994 AFCON winner spoke glowingly about his former coach at Ajax Amsterdam, Louis Van Gaal who led Holland to the quarter final even without recognized wingers.

He said the Dutch gave a good account of themselves but that knowing that football is not static, it is important for coaches to adapt their philosophies to accommodate modern style of the wingers.

“The Dutch have not got it wrong but have to adapt to the modern playing style of the wingers. Football definitely will change in couple of years to come. We must adapt ourselves to possible changes,” he concluded.

Credit: thenationonlineng.net

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