How Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta Inspired Morocco Coach Walid Regragui and Pitso Mosimane

Morocco manager Walid Regragui and midfielder Azzedine Ounahi

Morocco coach Walid Regragui and former Al Ahly manager Pitso Mosimane have gone on to make a name for themselves across both Africa and the global stage. The pair can accredit some of their recent success to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who inspired the two by giving them tactical lessons in the past.

Walid Regragui has recently gone down in African football folklore having guided the Moroccan national team to the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in Qatar. The first African nation to ever reach the last four of football’s most grand competition.

Unfortunately for the Atlas Lions, their aspirations for reaching and even winning the World Cup finals came to an end on Wednesday evening as they were beaten 2-0 by current holders France. However, Morocco’s campaign doesn’t end just yet as they face 2018 runners-up Croatia on Saturday in the 3rd and 4th place playoff.

Despite Wednesday’s result, Regragui’s men have won the hearts of millions across the globe after stunning performances in this year’s tournament in Qatar.

Having topped their group containing Belgium, Croatia and Canada, Morocco eliminated two heavyweights of international football in Spain and Portugal, not conceding a goal in either game.

The African giants have their manager to thank for their sturdy performances at the back. Regragui took over in September and was only in charge of three Moroccan fixtures before the World Cup, conceding zero across all three games.

Up until the encounter with France, Morocco had only shipped in a single goal throughout the tournament, and that was also put into the back of the net by their own man, defender Nayif Aguerd.

However, Morocco are not just defensively astute, they also play exciting football in transition and have seen some breakout stars in the World Cup, namely Sofyan Amrabat and Azzedine Ounahi, with the latter having been utterly superb for the Atlas Lions and is now being touted with a big move in January.

Morocco manager Walid Regragui and midfielder Azzedine Ounahi
Morocco manager Walid Regragui and midfielder Azzedine Ounahi

Regragui can thank Mikel Arteta for some of the successful tactics he’s deployed at the World Cup after attending a tactical lesson from the Arsenal manager in a recent conference.

Arteta hosted many coaches and managers in an online seminar where he demonstrated and displayed his ideas and tactics in the 2-0 win over Man City in the 2020 FA Cup semi-final.

At the time, Arteta had been in charge of the Gunners for only half the season, which also happened to be his debut first-team managerial job. However, Arteta quickly showed a glimpse of his potential, winning the FA Cup in his first six months in charge of Arsenal, beating the aforementioned Man City in the semis and then Chelsea in the final.

Currently just shy of being at the helm for three years, Arteta’s Arsenal now sit five points clear at the top of the Premier League and it seems as if his process is finally coming to fruition.

Screenshot from the seminar conducted by Mikel Arteta, with Walid Regragui clearly present
Screenshot from the seminar conducted by Mikel Arteta, with Walid Regragui clearly present

Another manager that was present in the seminar was South African football coach Pitso Mosimane.

Mosimane has made his name on the continental stage in the last few years after winning the CAF Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016 before going back-to-back with Al Ahly in 2020 and 2021.

Mosimane’s coaching expertise is obviously well-known in South African after his exploits with Sundowns from 2013 to 2020, where he led the Downs to five PSL titles during that time.

The former Supersport United coach is currently in charge of Saudi side Al Ahli who he started managing in September. Mosimane is currently unbeaten in the Middle-East having won two of his opening three games.

Pitso Mosimane also in attendance at the seminar
Pitso Mosimane also in attendance at the seminar

It’s refreshing to see these coaches learning from those in Europe with perhaps slightly more pedigree and experience. The results of their learnings are evident and will do nothing but elevate African football both domestically and on the international stage.

Also Read: How the World Cup Proved Pep Guardiola is the Best Manager in the World