(MENAFN - Morocco World News) Rabat – As the to win the hosting rights for the 2026 FIFA World Cup intensifies, the African country has selected 12 cities to host the enormous tournament, according to Moroccan sports news outlet .
Morocco is competing against a three-nation North American bid submitted by the USA, Canada and Mexico. A decision on the winner is expected around June 13 during the FIFA Congress.
The source added that Morocco's Minister of Sports and Youth, Rachid Talbi El Alami, announced in Rabat during a press conference on Tuesday that the cities were selected according to several criteria, including hotels and transportation infrastructure.
The 12 cities chosen to host the international tournament are Casablanca, Marrakech, Tetouan, Nador, Meknes, El Jadida, Fez, Oujda, Tangier, Agadir, Rabat and Ouarzazate.
When one of the journalists asked the minister about the choice of Ouarzazate, El Alami replied, 'It is a city known internationally for its cinema industry and for its solar power plant Noor.'
Regarding the stadiums, the sports website said that 14 stadiums will be ready by 2026 to host the World Cup. Marrakech and Casablanca will have the privilege of having two stadiums each.
Earlier this week, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Morocco's Minister of Trade and the Chairman of Morocco's 2026 World Cup Bid Committee, voiced Morocco's willingness to do its utmost in order to clinch the right to host the tournament.
According to Elalamy, the committee has already formulated a strategy to highlight and exploit Morocco's potential and its apparent advantages.
'Morocco has already embarked on a vast and ambitious investment program in the areas of infrastructure and hotel industry that meets the needs of the local population in the first place,' said Elalamy.
Elalamy has also discussed Morocco's readiness to build new stadiums across the country to house the dozens of matches planned for the tournament.
'We are also proposing modular stadiums that will continue to operate after the World Cup,' he said, stressing that, 'no dirham will be spent if it cannot ultimately serve the population.'
Recently, Morocco hosted the African Nations Championship (CHAN), which saw its conclusion on February 4. Throughout the competition, members of the African Football Confederation (CAF), including its President Ahmad Ahmad lauded Morocco's commitment to the competition. He also pointed out that Morocco is capable of organizing big international competitions like the 2026 World Cup.
According to Ahmad, the members of the CAF organizing committee and members of the executive bureau, football teams, and referees have unanimously praised Morocco's excellent organization and preparedness, from the quality of the football stadia and arbitration procedures to the quality of local infrastructure and hotels.
Kwesi Nyantakyi, first vice president of CAF, shared the same opinion as that of his boss (Ahmad), emphasizing that Morocco 'has honored Africa' with its 'excellent organization of 2018 CHAN.'