It is expected to be the Alawi monarch, Mohammed VI, who will welcome the national team players and their coach, Walid Regragui, on their arrival at Rabat-Salé airport

Mohammed VI praises Morocco's "historic and unprecedented achievement" in Qatar

PHOTO/FILE - Mohammed VI, King of Morocco

After a historic fourth place finish at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the players of the Moroccan national team were officially congratulated this weekend by the Alawite monarch, Mohammed VI. It is a "historic and unprecedented" achievement, said Mohammed VI, the best-ever finish by an African country at the FIFA World Cup. 

The members of the Moroccan team managed "with brilliance and merit to reach the semi-finals", praised the monarch, who also highlighted their "great professionalism, high competitiveness, sincere patriotism and noble human values" that led the North African team to achieve one of the greatest "feats" for "Moroccan, Arab and African football". 


Congratulations that the players themselves already felt deserved at the end of the match against Croatia (which ended in a bitter 2-1 win for the Croatians after Mislav Orsic's goal ended Achraf Dari's equaliser, leaving the Atlas Lions in fourth place). "We wanted to reach third place to give our fans some joy after the great journey we have made, like reaching the semi-finals," said Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi, "We have to be happy and proud. We couldn't give them this last victory, but we leave with our heads held high". 

"This is not just about Morocco. It's a whole continent supporting us. We have put a continent up, a flag up high, and we are proud of all this work," added Hakimi.

Now, the Atlas Lions are still waiting to return to their home country, as the sports daily H24Info reports from sources at the FRMR (Royal Moroccan Football Federation) that the team members have had their flight postponed, and are not expected to land at Rabat-Salé airport in Morocco until the afternoon of Tuesday 20th - after almost seven hours of travel - where their fans are waiting to celebrate the footballing milestone of the moment. 

But first of all, Mohammed VI himself is expected to welcome all the players of the national team, along with their coach Walid Regragui. 

Below is the full text of King Mohamed VI's speech to the Moroccan national team on Saturday 17 December:

In this message, HM the King underlined having followed "with great joy and elation your brilliant performance at the 2022 World Cup in the State of Qatar, where you have succeeded, with brilliance and merit, to reach the semi-finals, the first and most resounding achievement of the kind of Moroccan, Arab and African soccer, at the finals of this global sporting event.

While congratulating you on this historic and unprecedented achievement, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks and pride for what you have accomplished during this great footballing event, in terms of exceptional performance and remarkable discipline which reflect the great professionalism, high competitiveness, sincere patriotism and noble human values which are yours and which embody the spirit of challenge and your determination to spare no effort to raise the flag of Moroccan soccer high on the international scene and represent African and Arab soccer as it should be; a firm determination animated by the encouragement and support of the passionate Moroccan fans who have not ceased to support you with unparalleled enthusiasm, songs and celebrations full of feelings of love and adoration for the Homeland.

As much joy as you have brought to the Moroccan people and to the various supporters of brotherly and friendly countries, especially Arab and African ones, who have followed your impressive feat with so much affection, pride and admiration, you have amazed the World with your high talent and your unshakeable determination emanating from the strength of your faith, your love for your Homeland and your attachment to your eternal motto: God, Homeland, King".

The Sovereign reiterated, “his warm congratulations to the members of the national team, players, coach, technical and medical staff, managers and executives of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, imploring the Almighty to preserve them and grant them more success to move forward, with the same will and the same commitment and competitive spirit, and thus achieve more great feats that honor Moroccan soccer in the upcoming continental and international sports competitions, offering joy again and again to the large Moroccan public that remains proud of your achievements and supports you everywhere, inside the country and abroad”.