NIGERIAN football legend, Daniel Amokachi, jetted into the country last weekend to brief Zifa and Cosafa boss Phillip Chiyangwa on Morocco’s 2026 Fifa World Cup bid as well as to solicit the regional bloc’s support ahead of the June 13 vote.

The 45-year-old Amokachi is the official Moroccan World Cup bid ambassador in which the North Africans are battling with three Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football nations, Mexico, Canada and the United States of America, who are presenting a joint bid.

“Daniel was here in his capacity as the Morocco World Cup bid ambassador. As you know, this time around all Fifa members will cast a vote to choose the 2026 host, which will also see, for the first time, 48 countries competing for the world title,” said Chiyangwa.

Amokachi participated in two World Cup finals with Nigeria, first in 1994 in the United States followed by the 1998 tournament in France. He was also a 1994 African Cup of Nations winner with the Super Eagles as well as 1996 Olympic gold medallist where he scored the only goal that saw the Nigerians stunning Argentina 1-0 in the final.

Seen as the kingmaker after masterminding the ouster of long standing Caf president Issa Hayatou, Chiyangwa is influential in the 14-member Cosafa bloc in his capacity as president.

Meanwhile, a five-man Fifa task force is in Morocco to assess the country’s ability to host the World Cup finals.

The taskforce that arrived on Monday will visit several cities as well as stadia, training camps and fan fest sites, together with other venues related to the organisation of the competition.

According to reports, the taskforce will use a point-scoring system to evaluate the two candidates and a bid which does not meet a minimum score on a number of different points will be disqualified before the final vote in Russia.

“Morocco is offering an innovative and compact concept to ensure operational efficiency, outstanding profitability and a lasting legacy in Morocco and Africa,” said Moulay Hafid Elalamy, president of the bid committee, in the statement.

He added that the visit would “strive to convey the vision of a humble, passionate, determined bid, but above all a professional and solid one”.

Morocco’s bid plays heavily on the country’s passion for football and its fan culture, on its relatively compact size, its proximity to Europe and climate.

Morocco have already made four unsuccessful bids to host the tournament in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010, although they were close on three occasions.

The country was second to the United States for the 1994 tourney, behind France for 1998 and just lost out to South Africa for the 2010 finals, the only time the event has been held in Africa.

Some of Fifa’s national associations have already publicly stated who they will vote for and Morocco received South Africa’s backing on Monday.

Safa president Danny Jordaan said Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity and naysayers should stop using the political argument,” he said. “Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa.”

Other African nations that have already stated their support for Morocco include Algeria and Guinea Bissau, while European nation France has also indicated that it will vote for the Morocco bid. zimpapers