Morocco is set to participate in the first-ever FIFA Arab Cup. The football tournament is set to take place in Qatar from December 1-18, 2021.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced the list of the 22 participating national teams during a visit to Qatar to inspect the progress of stadiums under construction. The Gulf country is set to host the FIFA World Cup, the most prestigious football tournament, in 2022.
The 2021 FIFA Arab Cup will help Qatar better prepare for hosting the World Cup. The regional tournament will take place during the same time of year as the World Cup.
Morocco will participate in the FIFA Arab Cup alongside 21 other Arabic-speaking countries from Africa and Asia.
The African teams participating in the tournament are Morocco, Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan, and Tunisia.
Meanwhile, the Asian nations set to compete in the Arab Cup are Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Sixteen teams will qualify to the final stage of the competition and will be split into four groups. The top two teams from each group will advance to a single-elimination round.
In total, the competition will include 32 games over 18 days. The final game of the tournament will take place on December 18, 2021, exactly one year from the final game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The FIFA president expressed his optimism that the upcoming Arab Cup will unite millions of football fans from across the Middle East and Arab world.
“We are delighted that all 22 teams from across the Arab world have agreed to take part in the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, which will be held in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums, and we are looking forward to seeing the region’s best teams battle it out to see which nation will become champion,” Infantino said.
“Through football, this tournament will unite over 450 million people from across the region, and we are confident that the FIFA Arab Cup will help to build excitement across the region as we edge ever nearer to hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab World in 2022,” he added.
FIFA will host the event in collaboration with the Qatar Football Association and the Qatari Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
While the upcoming Arab Cup will be the first FIFA-administered tournament for the Arab world, similar tournaments organized by the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) have occasionally taken place in the past.
The latest UAFA Arab Cup took place in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and saw Morocco’s national team crowned as champion.