AP

Morocco coach skeptical World Cup can open door to Europe

Dec 8, 2022, 6:51 PM | Updated: Dec 9, 2022, 8:54 am

Morocco's head coach Walid Regragui is thrown in the air at the end of the World Cup round of 16 so...

Morocco's head coach Walid Regragui is thrown in the air at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Morocco coach Walid Regragui has guided his team to the World Cup quarterfinals — the first time an Arab nation has advanced that far in the tournament.

One might think that would be enough to get him linked to a top job in Europe.

Regragui isn’t so sure, sounding skeptical Friday when asked if he is helping change perceptions about coaches from the region.

“This question is probably best asked to the European clubs: Why don’t they hire Arab coaches?” he said on the eve of Morocco’s match against Portugal. “Maybe it’s a cultural question. Maybe it’s a mentality.”

“Today I think it’s impossible that Manchester City or Barcelona would bring an Arab coach. They won’t even think about it,” Regragui said through an interpreter.

“As if we’re not worthy, as if we’re ignorant in football or we’re incapable of such a test.”

Regragui spoke Friday just a few kilometers (miles) across Doha from a meeting of European soccer club leaders hosted by Paris Saint-Germain’s Qatari president, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.

Man City and PSG are among among the most successful and wealthiest clubs in Europe. Both are owned and funded by Middle East sovereign wealth in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, respectively, and have never hired a coach from outside soccer’s power bases of Europe and South America.

Man City’s owners in Abu Dhabi have hired three new coaches in 14 years, from Italy, Chile and Spain. In more than 11 years of Qatari ownership, PSG has hired coaches from France, Italy, Spain and Argentina.

Regragui was hired by the Morocco soccer federation in August after the France-born coach made his reputation guiding Wydad of Casablanca to win Africa’s Champions League last season. He also previously worked in Qatar.

“Ten years that I am a coach and nobody looked at me — ‘Ah, he doesn’t have any experience, he wants to go play in Europe,’ ‘It’s impossible for him and let’s look for somebody else who can,” Regragui said.

That has changed in four games in Qatar guiding Morocco unbeaten through facing Spain, Croatia, Belgium and Canada.

“Explain to me how, explain to me this miracle,” he said in self-mocking comments, adding: “Experience doesn’t matter, it’s skills. Skills are the only measure.”

Regragui is part of a progressive wave at this World Cup with all five African teams led by coaches from their home country.

Historically, African countries which qualified for the World Cup have relied on importing coaches from European countries like France, Germany and Serbia. Host nation Qatar’s team is coached by a Spaniard.

“African coaches with great results can actually show, statistically and mathematically, that at a certain point that this could happen,” Regragui said. “A lot of African coaches can actually coach in Europe and in great clubs.”

___

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Morocco coach skeptical World Cup can open door to Europe