Cosafa blasts rebellious Morocco
Harare – The Cosafa leadership have said Morocco’s hosting of the 2014 Fifa Club World Cup, just weeks after the country pulled out of staging the 2015 Nations Cup finals amid fears this could bring the Ebola virus to their shores, was an insult to the dignity of Africans.
The 2014 Fifa Club World Cup got underway on Wednesday with a quarter-final play-off between host team, Moghreb Tetoutan, and Auckland City of New Zealand at the Prince Moullay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat.
The winner of that game will play African champions, ES Setif of Algeria, in the quarter-finals in Rabat on the same day that Australian side Western Sydney Wanderers take on Mexican side Cruz Azul in the other quarter-final.
The winners of these ties will then take on the heavy weights, San Lorenzo of Argentina and Real Madrid of Spain, who will enter the tournament at the semi-final stage on December 16 and 17 with the final set for December 20 at the Stade de Marrakech in Marrakech.
But while the 2014 Fifa Club World Cup is being played on African soil, the friction between Morocco and African football leaders, over the 2015 African Nations Cup finals, has cast a huge cloud on the tournament this year.
Morocco refused to host the next edition of the tournament in January and February next year, amid fears that doing so could bring the Ebola virus into their country, and CAF’s reply was to switch the tournament to Equatorial Guinea and ban the Atlas Lions from the next two Nations Cup tournaments.
Now, the Cosafa leadership have joined their CAF counterparts in condemning the Moroccans, saying that the country’s decision to host the 2014 Fifa Club World Cup was an insult to the dignity of Africans.
The Cosafa leaders resolved at their annual general meeting in South Africa that they will snub the 2014 Fifa Club World Cup and will also not attend the tournament’s official opening ceremony despite getting invitations from the Morocco Football Federation to attend.
All the Cosafa members are not expected to attend the tournament or take part in any of its official activities.
“Member nations of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) have resolved not to accept the invitation of the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Football (FRMF) to attend the opening of the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco next month,” Cosafa said in a statement.
“This principled stance has been taken in solidarity with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), who stripped Morocco of the right to host the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations Final Tournament after FRMF insisted the tournament be postponed over fears of the Ebola virus.
“But the FRMF’s decision to continue to host the Fifa Club World Cup is not in line with their reasoning behind the proposed postponement of the Nations Cup finals and is, in the opinion of the Cosafa Executive, an affront to the dignity of African football.”
The Cosafa leadership, in its resolutions, said the reasons forwarded by the Moroccans for the postponement of the 2015 Nations Cup finals were unacceptable.
“(Cosafa expresses) its view that the reasons advanced by the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Football are not acceptable to it and its Member Federations and is an affront to the dignity of all Africans (and) advises its Members and the African football family not to accept the said invitations from the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Football to attend the opening of the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup scheduled for December 2014.
“That a letter must be written to the CAF President (Issa Hayatou) to thank him for his resolute and principled stance not to agree to a postponement of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Final Tournament.
That the CAF President be thanked for protecting the interests and dignity of the African football family.”