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World Cup

Morocco reaping fruits of investing in youth programmes, Nigeria must follow suit - Finidi George

3:09 PM GMT+4 16/12/2022
Morocco, Nigeria, Finidi George.
Finidi George believes Nigeria must invest in youth programmes if they are to reach Morocco's success at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
  • Morocco reached the last four but lost to France
  • Nigeria failed to qualify after losing to Ghana
  • Morocco will fight for the bronze against Croatia

WHAT HAPPENED: The Super Eagles missed out on the global competition in the Gulf nation after losing to Ghana on the away goals rule during a two-legged African qualifying fixture.

Meanwhile, Morocco was among the nations that represented the African continent in Qatar, others being Senegal, Cameroon, Tunisia, Morocco, and the Black Stars.

The 51-year-old, George who currently handles Nigeria Professional Football League club Enyimba, insists Morocco's display in the World Cup was not accidental.

WHAT HE SAID: “Morocco’s performance is due to long-term investment in the youth programmes that they’re reaping now. It doesn’t just come overnight,” he told NationSport. “It is the result of their concerted efforts to make changes.

“If you look at Morocco’s performance in football in the past five to seven years, one does not need a soothsayer to know that the feats were not accidental.

WHAT IS MORE? George, who played for Dutch outfit Ajax, La Liga's Real Betis and featured in two World Cups, is confident if Nigeria go the Morocco way and follow their implementations to the letter, the Super Eagles can reclaim their lost glory

“We can follow their model and ensure the right things are done to get our football back and running," Goerge added. "We must invest in youth programmes and also ensure we take it to the grassroots and be sincere about it.

"Our youth teams are meant to be developmental and nursery for senior national teams if well coordinated. We can do it just like Morocco did. Super Eagles have always been there and will bounce back.

"There’s a lot to take from Morocco's performance because there are no big teams in a tournament like the World Cup where all teams are striving to make lasting impressions.

“We have to build a competitive team ahead of Nation’s and World Cup qualifiers so that both competitions could be approached with a renewed vigour and determination not to fail this time around.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Morocco became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup where they lost 2-0 against France. They also made history as they finished their group matches without suffering defeat.

WHAT NEXT: Morocco have a chance to win a bronze medal when they take on Croatia in the third-place playoff fixture on Saturday.