Morocco will take part, for the first time in its history, in the Electronic Football World Cup, which will take place from July 27 to 30 in Copenhagen, Denmark. By appearing among the 24 qualified countries, the Kingdom demonstrates its interest and its growing efforts to make gaming a real professional discipline.
“It is an immense pride to have been able to bring my country back to this objective”. Kinane Nabhane barely hides his joy from us, in reaction to the enormous feat of which he has just been one of the major architects: qualifying Morocco, for the first time in its history, for the FIFA World Cup Game, to be held July 27-30, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Composed of Kinane Nabhane, but also Ilyass Moussaïd and Ismaïl Boudebza, the national team validated its ticket for the world event after beating Kazakhstan in the first leg (1-0), while the return match ended on a draw (2-2) in the FIFAe Nations CUP qualifiers. Other countries took part in the qualifiers for the Africa and Middle East zone, namely the United Arab Emirates, another country qualified by finishing leaders in their zone, as well as Kazakhstan, South Africa and Kuwait. Morocco will therefore be present among the 24 qualified out of 84 countries having taken part in the playoffs of this edition, all zones combined – an increase of 40% compared to the previous playoffs.
“We worked hard to get here, we went through all the emotions, it was very hard but we had the necessary support from the community and the federation which allowed us to stay in it and fight until at the end”, testifies Kinane Nabhane. The Electronic Football World Cup, better known as the FIFAe Nations Cup, is an inter-nation competition supervised by FIFA itself in partnership with EA, the video game giant and developer of the famous FIFA game. This event will oppose 24 countries, including the host country, in the Bella Arena hall in Copenhagen, and will be broadcast live, while the final will even be open to the public.
Show the strength of Morocco
The task will therefore not be easy for the representatives of the Kingdom, while the tournament will see the participation of countries and players more seasoned and more accustomed to the major meetings of electronic football, both in teams and individually, in particular France. , defending champion, Portugal, England or even Brazil. But the Moroccan players remain confident and aim very high for their first participation. “We qualified with flying colors. Morocco has every chance to shine during this World Cup. We don’t set ourselves any limits, and we will give our all game by game for our country. We fear no one, we are here to be competitive. We know we have the level and we want to show everyone the strength of Morocco”, says the member of the Moroccan selection. For the moment, the Kingdom occupies 48th place in the FIFA rankings, which places it in 2nd place on the continental level behind South Africa (22nd worldwide). But with the evolution of the practice and the level of the selection, the Kingdom has the potential to climb in the ranking.
The tournament takes place in 2vs2 mode, ie two against two, with a substitute for each team. The two titular players share the control of the virtual players, in a mode of use quite different from the 1vs1 mode, which is more widespread and known to ordinary fans of FIFA games.
Complicity and team spirit are therefore a vital element in this discipline, if the team wishes to emerge victorious. An aspect on which the Royal Moroccan Federation of Electronic Games works a lot and tries to improve. “With my teammates we have a very good relationship, coach Bassy has always worked on this point, which is crucial for success in esports. We get on very well with each other and we manage to support each other in all circumstances, whether in competition or out of competition”, reveals the Moroccan player. The Federation is in the process of setting up a preparation plan in collaboration with coach Saad Bassy so that the latter can put his players in the best conditions, to be able to be in Denmark several days before the start of the tournament in order to train. and to get used to the general atmosphere, especially since it will be a first for the representatives of the Kingdom.
“For the national team, this qualification will highlight the level of Moroccan esports players and will inevitably open some doors for Moroccan esports internationally thanks in particular to the work that has been done by the federation of democratize use, inclusion and allow a large number of Moroccans to practice Gaming”, explains Kinane.
Indeed, the Kingdom has experienced for some years a significant dynamic aimed at institutionalizing and making profitable the practice of video games, long remained limited to the field of recreational and amateurism. These ambitions were crowned by the creation, on December 17, 2020 in Casablanca, of the Royal Moroccan Federation of Electronic Sports. Objective, “to promote, develop, structure, train and regulate gaming in Morocco to become the epicenter of e-Sport in Africa and a world reference in the next five years, this is our ambitious objective”, as clearly shown the word of the president of the Federation, Hicham El Khalifi.