2019 WAFU Cup: Morocco Withdraws From Tournament

Morocco have pulled out of the West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations in Senegal just a few days to the 28 September kickoff of the tournament.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) announced the decision on Tuesday after domestic clubs railed against releasing their players for the tournament in the middle of the domestic season.

Morocco, who are still awaiting a formal admittance to the regional bloc ECOWAS, were invited to replace Sierra Leone, who were banned by FIFA in October 2018 over governmental interference in the running of the Football Association.

The North Africans, the first non-West African nation to be invited for any WAFU tournament, had intended to use the competition as preparation for the U23 Nations Cup coming up in Egypt in November.

There’s no word as at the time of going to press from the organisers about a replacement for Morocco who had been drawn to play Liberia in their opening match at the WAFU Nations Cup on 29 September.

This year’s tournament, which has been expanded to 16 teams, will assume a new format with teams placed in the ‘Cup’ and ‘Plate’ categories after the first phase of matches.

Each team will play a minimum of two matches following which the first phase winners will progress into the Cup competition while the losers will participate in the Plate tournament.

Hosts Senegal will take on Guinea Bissau in the opening match while defending champions Ghana will meet Gambia on 28 September to be followed by the remaining matches.

Nigeria start their campaign against on 29 September.

The quarter-finals of the cup and plate ties will take place from 3-6 October with the semis occurring from 8-9 October.

The plate-final will be held on 12 October and the cup-final on 13 October.

The tournament will run from 28 September to 13 October at the Stade Lat Dior in Thies.