The eyes of African football lovers will be on the city of Salé, which will host the Mohammed VI football complex in Maâmoura for the annual Confederation of African Football (CAF) award ceremony for the 2022 season, making the Kingdom a destination for African football stars and a key player on the continental sports scene.
The choice made by CAF for Morocco to host this continental event, far from its headquarters in Cairo, was not the result of chance, but dictated by the successful experiences accumulated by the Kingdom in the organization of major sporting events, thanks to its infrastructures which are a model at the African level, according to statements by senior sports officials on the continent.
In this regard, the president of the International Football Federation (FIFA), Gianni Infantino had indicated during a recent visit to Morocco to attend the opening of the women’s CAN that the choice of the Kingdom to host the African Cup women’s nations is a recognition of her enormous abilities, adding that Morocco is a great football country which has successfully organized several sporting events.
An opinion shared by the President of CAF, Patrice Motsepe who has, on several occasions, highlighted the leading role played by the Kingdom in the development of African football thanks to the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, stressing that the African countries should take inspiration from Morocco as a model for the development of football.
Regarding the CAF Awards, the first list of nominees is marked by a strong presence of Moroccan football which shone this year, in particular thanks to the qualification of the Atlas Lions for the Qatar World Cup for the 6th time and the qualification of the Moroccan women’s football team for the first time for the World Cup scheduled in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 and for the final of the Morocco-2022 women’s AFCON.
The qualification of the women’s team for the final stages of the World Cup reinforces the qualitative development experienced by Moroccan football, which has signed good performances during this year, in particular the qualification of the Moroccan women’s U17 team for the of the world in this category, scheduled for October 11 to 30 in India.
To these exploits is added the qualification of the national eFoot team for the World Cup which will take place next July in the Danish capital Copenhagen.
This Moroccan football momentum was also reinforced by the title of the African Champions League won by Wydad de Casablanca, which at the same time ensured qualification for the world clubs, the African Confederation Cup won by the Renaissance of Berkane, in addition to the Supercup which will be contested by these two Moroccan teams.
The list of nominees for the CAF Awards 2022, which will be held on July 21 in Rabat, includes the National Selection (men) who are in the running for the National Team of the Year award, alongside Egypt, Senegal, Cameroon and Burkina Faso.
The list of nominees for the Player of the Year award includes Achraf Hakimi, who competes with other African football stars, such as Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, as well as Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez .
Casablanca club Wydad and Renaissance Sportive de Berkane (RSB) are in the running for the Club of the Year award, alongside Orlando Pirates (South Africa), Petro Atletico (Angola) and Al Ahly ( Egypt), Ahli Tripoli (Libya) and Al Ittihad (Libya).
The list of nominees for the Interclub Player of the Year award includes 10 candidates, including Wydadis Achraf Dari, Yahya Jabrane and Zouhair El Moutaraji.
The list of nominees for the Coach of the Year award includes Wydad coach Walid Regragui, Aliou Cissé, Senegal national team coach, former Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz, Pitso Mosimane, the former coach of Al Ahly of Egypt and the Belgian Tom Saintfiet, coach of Gambia.
Moreover, the Moroccan international, Ghizlane Chebbak, is part of the shortlist of nominees for the title of best player of the year.
The list published by CAF includes 10 nominees for the title of player of the year and as many for that of the interclub player of the year. Ghizlane Chebbak is also in the running for this second title, alongside Sanaa Mssoudy and Fatima Tagnaout, all three members of AS FAR.
The Coach of the Year list also includes women’s national team manager Reynald Pedros, while the Best Club of the Year list includes AS FAR.
The CAF Awards 2022 will be held before the final of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations “TotalEnergies Morocco 2022”. The last edition of the CAF Awards was held in Cairo in 2019, before being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.