Morocco woos West Asian 2026 vote as Nascimento calls for African solidarity

March 13 – With just days to go before the two 2026 World Cup contenders have to hand in their bid books to FIFA, Moroccan officials have met with a key group of Asian nations to try and gain crucial support ahead of the vote in June.

Asian backing could well prove pivotal when the Moroccans go head-to-head with the favoured USA/Canada/Mexico bid during the FIFA Congress in Moscow and the underdogs are doing all they can to narrow the gap.

Chairman of Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid committee, Moulay Hafid Elalami and the president of Morocco’s Royal Federation Fouzi Lekjaa presented Morocco’s World Cup candidacy in Amman last weekend during a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Association of West Asian Football Federations (WAFF).

WAFF is made up of 13 federations – Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Palestine, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Qatar , Oman and Yemen.  The Moroccan delegation was reportedly welcomed by the President of the Jordanian Football Federation, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, who knows a thing or two about lobbying and voting patterns having twice tried and failed to become FIFA president.

Meanwhile the President of the Guinea-Bissau’s Football Federation, Manuel Nascimento, is the latest African nation to express support for Morocco.

Nascimento says it is imperative that Africa votes as bloc even though this is highly unlikely, with pockets of support – possibly including South Africa – destined to go towards the three-nation United 2026 bid.

“I demand that our votes as Africa are solid and we should not scatter them around when voting time comes,” Nascimento told the BBC. “The 2010 World Cup was successfully hosted in Africa. We can do it again.”

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