Friday 01 March 2024

In keeping with Royal Ambition, Atlas Lionesses Make History

Rabat – The impossible is not Moroccan! The qualification with flying colors of the Atlas Lionesses for the Round of 16 of the World Cup in Australia is certainly historic, but not fortuitous or even a coincidence.

It’s an eminently revealing achievement of Moroccan talent, in keeping with HM King Mohammed VI’s ambitions for a glittering national game that is making a name for itself on the international stage, as was the case at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The achievements of Morocco’s various national teams are the outcome of patient work imbued with seriousness, commitment and the values of sincere patriotism, under the visionary leadership of the Sovereign.

If the Royal vision is bearing fruit at the world’s key football events, this is a clear illustration of the development programs initiated and driven at the highest level of government.

Implemented in August 2020 following the signing of the Plan for the Development of women’s football in Morocco 2020-2024, it didn’t take long for the development of this discipline to get the sport on track, as part of an ambitious, structured and no-holds-barred approach.

For the first time, the senior national team has booked its ticket to play the final stages of the World Cup, and reached the final of the AFCON in 2022. A first. These achievements come less than two years after the professionalization of the national championship, under the leadership of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), which aims to reach the 90,000-member mark by 2024.

Women’s football, once relegated to amateur status, has definitely taken off since 2020, emerging as a model on an African scale and beyond, and leading the way for the continent.

The efforts made by the FRMF have enabled the emergence of professional football: payment of salaries to players, direct subsidies to clubs (buses, shirts, balls, etc.) and other incentives.

The three-part plan, with its targeted actions, focuses on restructuring, developing the discipline and monitoring national teams.

In addition, the Federation has deployed talent prospecting and detection projects in the various provinces of the Kingdom, but also ensured that the skills of national technical managers are improved and that a Sport-Studies program is implemented.

Clubs have not been left behind in this virtuous momentum: substantial support has been provided to regional clubs and leagues, as well as to Elite clubs, combined with the installation of quality infrastructures to enhance the pace of training.

Another key element of this roadmap is the Federation’s ambitious training program for dozens of participants in Rabat and Saïdia, an initiative which was subsequently extended to regional football centers.

In concrete terms, the Kingdom has won the bid to host the 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations, FAR Rabat finished third in the first edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League, while the U17 team qualified for the 2023 World Cup.

The achievement of the Atlas Lionesses thus echoes the high value of the content of HM the King’s speech last Saturday, in which the Sovereign emphasized: “Whenever the conditions are right, and each time they commit to seriousness and to the spirit of patriotism, Moroccan youth always manage to dazzle the world with great, unprecedented accomplishments, and the feat of our national football team in the last World Cup is a case in point”.


Related news

Morocco women’s national football team trashed, here Wednesday, Tunisia 4-1, in the second leg of the third and penultimate preliminary round of the 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers.

Fatima Tagnaout (11th) and Ibtissam Jraidi (16th, 20th and 22nd) scored for the Atlas Lionesses, while Salma Zemzem (58th) scored the only goal for the Tunisians.

In the first leg, held last Friday in Tunis, Morocco bested Tunisia 2-1.

During the fourth and final round of 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers, Morocco will play Zambia to clinch their ticket for the 2024 Olympics as one of the two representatives of Africa.

Morocco U-17 women’s football team trashed Nigeria 11-0, Monday at the Berkane municipal stadium, in the first leg of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifiers (Africa zone).

Moroccan goals were scored by Ouafae Bentahri (19th), Salma Senhaji (26th), Awatif El Ghazouani (31st), Lina Jamai Mokhtari (32nd, 34th, 42nd, 45th+1, 90th+4), Ines Aboucharif (51st), Siham Bouhouch (55th) and Sara Dofry (90th).

The second-leg game will take place on Friday at the Berkane municipal stadium.

Morocco’s U20 women’s football team qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2024 in Colombia, despite losing (0-1) to its Ethiopian counterpart on Sunday at the Abebe Bikila stadium in Addis Ababa, in the second leg of the fourth and final round of African qualifiers for the World Cup, scheduled for August 31 to September 22.

Morocco beat Ethiopia 2-0 in the first leg, played last Saturday at the El Abdi stadium in El Jadida.

This is the first World Cup qualification for the national U20 women’s team.

The Moroccan women’s national team has dropped two spots to 60th in the latest International Football Federation (FIFA) rankings released on Friday.
Within Africa, the Atlas Lionesses, tallying 1411.58 points, now hold the 3rd position, trailing behind Nigeria and South Africa.

Globally, Spain claims the top spot, followed by the USA, France, England and Sweden in the world rankings.
Here follow the world Top-10:

  1. Spain 2066.05 pts
  2. United States 2045.12 pts.
  3. France 2021.69 pts.
  4. England 2014.19 pts.
  5. Sweden 1998.09 pts.
  6. Germany 1987.25 pts.
  7. Netherlands 1986.84 pts.
  8. Japan 1978.01 pts.
  9. North Korea 1950.87 pts.
  10. Canada 1948.58 pts.

( MAP 15.12.2023 )

Rabat – The Moroccan women’s national football team beat Namibia 2-0, Tuesday at the HRH Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan Sports Complex in Rabat, to advance to the third round of the African qualifiers for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The Atlas Lionesses’ goals were scored by Imane Saoud (76th) and Ghizlane Chebbak (89th).

In the first-leg game, held on October 26th in Marrakech, the Moroccan team bested Namibia 2-0.

The 3rd round games will be played on February 19-28, 2024.

Five African countries participated in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament since its debut in Atlanta in 1996: Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The two representatives of Africa in the Paris Olympics will be known at the end of the fourth and final round (April 1-9).

Moroccan women’s football has “a bright and promising future ahead of it,” assured the new coach of the Moroccan women’s national team, Spaniard Jorge Vilda Rodriguez, on Sunday in Sale.

“I am honored by the trust placed in me by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) and to continue the work accomplished by my predecessor Reynald Pedros and his staff with the Moroccan women’s national team since 2021,” which culminated in a qualification for the Round of 16 at the last World Cup, he said at a press conference held at the Mohammed VI Football Complex to present the new coach of the Atlas Lionesses.

“It’s a challenge we’re delighted to take up with great enthusiasm and commitment,” he continued, expressing his ambition to build a strong, competitive national team.

“The sports facilities in Morocco, notably the Mohammed VI Football Complex, are world-class,” he emphasized, noting his desire to implement a playing philosophy that would suit the Atlas Lionesses.

“I’ve always admired the talent and passion of Moroccan footballers,” he added, noting that “being part of the FRMF project is a responsibility I’ve accepted with great humility.”

According to him, the players on the national team represent not only their country, but “all the women who struggle to achieve their dreams.”

Referring to his career in Spain, he said he had spent some unforgettable moments with the Spanish women’s team, which won the last FIFA World Cup, jointly organized by Australia and New Zealand.

For his part, FRMF President Fouzi Lekjaa affirmed that the former Moroccan women’s national team staff had done a good job, culminating in qualification for the Round of 16 at the last World Cup.

After noting that the ambition of Morocco, HM King Mohammed VI, and all Moroccans is to play decisive roles in world competitions, particularly the World Cup, he said that national football was on a fine dynamic.

“Qualifying for a World Cup and reaching the Round of 16 is now a thing of the past. Today, national teams such as the futsal team are in the running for a world title,” he continued.

“Our ambition is realistic, simple, and clear: to move forward and do better,” he remarked, pointing out that the next milestones for the Atlas Lionesses will be the next Africa Cup of Nations, to be held in Morocco in 2024, and the World Cup in 2027.