Kigali, The African Football Federation (CAF) awarded HM Mohammed VI, King of Morocco with its President’s Outstanding Achievement Award on Tuesday 14th March 2023, in a ceremony that took place in Kigali, Rwanda.
The trophy “CAF President’s Outstanding Achievement Award” was presented by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF President Patrice Motsepe to the Minister of National Education, Preschool and Sports, Chakib Benmoussa.
The award was given in recognition of the remarkable developments in Moroccan football over the year 2022, and the contributions it had to the development of African football.
On this occasion, HM the King Addressed a Message which was read by the Minister of National Education, Preschool and Sports, Mr. Chakib Benmoussa, in which HM stressed that the Award bestowing upon to Him is, « first and foremost, a tribute to the genius of Africa and its vibrant youth ».
HM also added that for Him, « this Award represents a recognition of the choices I have made to bring about the right conditions for their development and fulfilment. Football is not just a sport, it is a work in progress and a long-term process ».
HM the King has, in this sense, affirmed to have made soccer a lever for success and sustainable human development in the Kingdom.
The Sovereign said he shares with His brother President Paul Kagame – whom the Confederation of African Football is also honoring today – “an unwavering confidence in our African continent, its youth and capacities,” noting that “we are working to make the most of that potential, without ever being satisfied with mere hopes, nor, for that matter, with our achievements.”
HM the King took the opportunity to pay tribute to FIFA President Gianni Infantino for his strong commitment to African soccer and to thank CAF President Patrice Motsepe for his leadership and action for the influence of African soccer and the resurgence of the credibility of its authorities.
“In addition to being a passion and the expression of creative skill and talent, football also implies a vision of the future, a long-term commitment, efficient, transparent governance, as well as investment in infrastructure and human capital,” continued HM the King.
The Sovereign recalled, in this context, that “by making Africa proud at the last World Cup, in Qatar, Moroccan football also upheld the values of perseverance, self-sacrifice and self-surpassing. We are working to anchor these values by linking sport to education in order to expand the practice of football, unlock players’ potential, and support the talents that are discovered through customized training.”
Beyond the words, explained HM the King, “the Kingdom of Morocco has repeatedly proved by actions that its means, its infrastructure and its experience, especially in soccer, are available to all African countries wishing to make the youth a lever of hope and growth. For the ambition I have for My country is consubstantial with the ambition I have for the African continent.
“It is not as much through words as concrete deeds that the Kingdom of Morocco has proven, on countless occasions, that its resources, infrastructure and experience, particularly in football, are at the disposal of all African sister nations sharing our wish to make youth a lever of hope and growth,” explained HM the King. “That is because the ambition I hold for my country is inseparable from that which I nurture for the African continent.”
The Souverain also announced Morocco’s joint bid with Spain and Portugal to host the World Cup in 2030.
On its side, the President Kagame affirmed that the African continent has great footballers, noting that the performance of the Moroccan national team at the Qatar World Cup was “a source of pride and honor for all Africans.”
The Rwandan president called to convey his congratulations to HM the King for this “important” achievement of the Moroccan team “which should be a source of inspiration”.
For his part, Infantino stressed that “we are here to celebrate two exceptional personalities who have given so much to soccer and have changed the lives of millions of people,” noting that soccer represents joy, pride and happiness, and that FIFA is committed to providing children with the right environment to practice it.
Infantino also said that HM King Mohammed VI and Rwandan President Paul Kagame are two heads of state “who have contributed to change in their countries and believed in the ambitions of their people, and that soccer can change many things on the African continent”.
For his part, the CAF President said that this exceptional and historic ceremony for soccer is a recognition of the efforts made to promote the sport and strengthen its competitiveness and sustainability, praising, in this regard, the tremendous work done by HM King Mohammed VI and Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the commitment they have shown.
“We are proud of the historic achievement of the Moroccan team in the Qatar-2022 World Cup and we thank HM King Mohammed VI,” added Motsepe.
The ceremony was marked by the screening of a video recounting the epic of the Atlas Lions in the Qatar-2022 World Cup and highlighting the leading role of HM King Mohammed VI in the promotion and development of national soccer.