Rabat – Morocco has been recruiting football players in European countries to compete on behalf of the kingdom in future regional and Olympic competitions, according to Mark Wotte, who was appointed last November football federation’s performance director.
Wotte said on Friday that Moroccans in the diaspora qualify to compete as Moroccans in regional and international competitions through their family ties.
“We are in a position that we can look at players internally but also from outside the country,” the Dutch coach told World Soccer in Rabat. “We have held training camps that have included youngsters from Spain, Italy, Holland, Germany and France. They qualify through their parents or grandparents.”
Recruiting Moroccans living abroad will ensure that the national teams will have players with the diverse skills necessary to succeed, Wotte added.
“The one difference I have noticed is that the local youth play a lot on instinct, whereas those who have come from abroad, in my opinion, are tactically more disciplined in their approach,” Wotte said. “It is our job to ensure that both styles merge for the benefit of football in this country.”
Wotte began his position as Head Coach for National Teams last December, when the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (RMFF) tasked him with preparing the Moroccan national football team for the next two African Under-20 Championships in 2017 and 2019. In addition, Wotte’s responsibilities include grooming Morocco’s future Under-23 team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In addition to Morocco’s 18-year absence from the World Cup, the national team, has had little success at the African Cup of Nations. The Atlas Lions won the cup in 1976 and reached the finals in 2004, however the team failed to pass preliminary matches in the last three competitions.
The coach said that although local Moroccans and Moroccans in the diaspora have different backgrounds, the two groups get along well inside and outside of training.
“There is no tension between the two groups,” he said. “They are very patriotic and share the same dream of representing Morocco.”