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World Cup 2022: Morocco coach says 'impossible' top clubs would hire Arab and African managers

Walid Regragui says he hopes to change history and perception of Arab and African coaches by beating Portugal on Saturday
If Morocco beats Portugal, the team will make history and face either France or England in the World Cup semi-finals (AFP)

Morocco coach Walid Regragui said it has felt "impossible" to see a top European club hire an Arab or African manager but hoped to change history by beating Portugal in the World Cup quarter-finals. 

The 45-year-old previously managed clubs in Morocco and Qatar before taking the Moroccan national team job.

Reflecting on his coaching career, Regragui spoke of how he often felt overlooked for top coaching jobs. 

"Ten years I am a coach, nobody looked at me," Regragui said at a news conference on Friday. 

"'No, it is impossible, he does not have the experience. Let's look at somebody else'. I'm in the quarter-final. Explain this miracle," the Moroccan added.

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"When people talk about experience, experience doesn't matter, it's skills. It doesn't matter about your background, religiously or culturally speaking, where you're from. It's about skills. If you're not worthy, you don't have the skills, you can leave."

Morocco became the first North African and Arab team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals in the competition's history after beating Spain on penalties on Tuesday. 

'Why don't they hire Arab coaches? Maybe it's a cultural question, maybe it's a mentality'

- Walid Regragui, Morocco coach

Under his leadership, Morocco has remained undefeated at this year's World Cup as the Atlas Lions beat the likes of Spain, Belgium and Canada to reach the final knockout stages.

But despite his team's successful run, Regragui still believes there is a long way to go before European clubs consider Arab and African managers for top coaching jobs.

"Why don't they hire Arab coaches? Maybe it's a cultural question, maybe it's a mentality," said Regragui, when asked by journalists. 

"Today, I think it's impossible that Manchester City or Barcelona will hire an Arab coach. They don't even think about it, as if we're not worthy, or ignorant or incapable of such a task.

"However, there's moments in history that make people change their mind. But it's on us as African and Arab people to change history. At a certain point, this could happen."

The Atlas Lions will face Portugal on Saturday. If they win, Morocco will face either France or England in the semi-finals.

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