Rabat – The president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe, said he was “sad” that the Moroccan football team could not take part in the African Championship for Local Players (CHAN-2023), in Algeria.
“It makes me sad. I want these young boys (U23 team) to represent the people of Morocco, but also to represent the people of Africa as well,” Motsepe told the press upon his arrival Friday 13th January 2023, at Rabat-Salé Airport, along with the president of the International Football Federation (FIFA), Gianni Infantino, to attend the draw ceremony of the Club World Cup, scheduled for February 1 to 11 in Morocco.
“I have spent the last few days doing everything possible in my discussions with the government of Algeria,” said Motsepe, acknowledging the existence of a “blockade.
The president of CAF added that “we want the spirit of African brotherhood and sisterhood and work together in the context of football to allow us to show the best of African football.”
“We are not politicians. We don’t want politics to come into football,” he said.
According to Motsepe, “we should in a humble way use football to bring people together and we will succeed. We continue to work and we are all concerned.”
In a statement released last Thursday, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) had indicated that the Moroccan selection was not able to travel to Constantine in Algeria to compete in the 7th edition of the CHAN and defend its title, insofar as the final authorization of its flight Royal Air Maroc (RAM), official carrier of Moroccan football teams, from Rabat to Constantine, has not been confirmed.
In this regard, Fouzi Lekjaa, had said Friday, that the fact of depriving the Moroccan selection to defend its title at the African Nations Championship of local players, organized in Algeria, is “a very deplorable act”.
“It is really deplorable to deprive young players who have prepared for a month to participate in this African sports competition,” said Lekjaa to the press, on the sidelines of the reception of Infantino and Motsepe at the Airport of Rabat-Salé.
The Moroccan football team, two-time CHAN title holder, was Friday morning at Rabat-Salé airport in anticipation of flying to Constantine to play in this tournament, said Lekjaa.