Rabat – It appeared that Morocco’s Royal Football Federation’s (FRMF) ambition to make the Belgian national football team a sparring partner for the Atlas Lions will not pan out. Youssef Hijoub, a Moroccan FIFA agent, has said that the Belgian team declined FRMF’s invitation due to security concerns.
The Moroccan national football squad is set to play a set of friendlies in preparation for the upcoming 2018 World Cup matches. On December 5, Moroccan news outlets reported that the Moroccan federation was seeking to arrange a friendly game between the Moroccan and the Belgian team, which is set to be played in March.
Speaking in a TV program featured by French news channel France24, Hijoub said that the Belgian authorities refused friendlies against countries of North Africa, including Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria in order to avoid all security threats.
The Moroccan team was placed in Group B along with two European countries, including Portugal and Spain. The team will also face Iran. In order to evaluate the team’s weaknesses and strengths, the federation is planning multiple friendlies with European teams as the team will confront two European champions.
The two teams met previously at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on March 26, 2008. The game finished with 4-1 in favor of the Moroccan team. Some Moroccan fans invaded the stadium before the end of the match, which was suspended for 10 minutes before the police were able to achieve order.
Hijoub told France24 that Portugal will play two friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia before their World Cup clash against the Moroccan team, which is scheduled to take place on June 20.
The Moroccan team will also play against Iran on June 15 and against Spain on June 25.