In this latest Kicking With Katsande’s Column with Thisisfootball.Africa, the former Zimbabwe and Kaizer Chiefs captain Willard Katsande, explains why Morocco went as far as the 2022 FIFA World Cup semifinals. He also points out what made them different to the other African teams.
The Atlas Lions, the first African team to reach the semi-finals, bowed out of the tournament after they fell 2-0 to losing finalists France on Wednesday last week. They also unfortunately failed to end in third place as they lost 2-1 to Croatia on Saturday afternoon.
“We fail to grow as African teams. Morocco is the exception. We fail to think outside the box, when I say outside the box, I mean to think what made Morocco to be successful and to go as far as they did in the World Cup.
“What is most interesting about Morocco is that their coach only joined them in August. Now look at how they are performing in just five months. You can see they are developing in a good way and going in the right direction. Why can’t we adapt like them? You know why? It is because we don’t read books. Let’s read books, let’s dig deep and think out of the box.
“Let’s dig deep and find out that what can we do to better? Us as African teams must do better. We must let the old days go and focus on what is happening in modern football. Why is it difficult for us to understand modern football? We do we take so long to understand and read what is really needed to compete with the European teams? By the time we understand, those countries have already moved to another level.
“You can just see at how Morocco are playing. They understand what is needed in this kind of tournament. Look at how they presented themselves from the start of the tournament. They went there with a game plan because they knew what those big teams would bring. As African teams, we should not go toe to toe with them (Europeans) because we know our standards are poor. Morocco was obviously well-prepared for the tournament.
“If we can start with grassroots football and have a proper development plan, then we get better results and stop always just hoping to win. Look at Tunisia, Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana, all our teams conceded three or more goals and those are our big names players and teams I am talking about. What is it that are we going to do? As usual it will be nothing. We must wake up and do better as a continent.”