Noureddine Naybet: “The FIFA World Cup 2030™ will be a historic moment for international football”

World Cup 2030 – Bid Ambassadors

Noureddine Naybet is considered one of the best defenders in the history of African football. He began his professional career with Wydad Casablanca in 1989, winning three Botola championships. After stints in France with FC Nantes and in Portugal with Sporting CP, Naybet will undoubtedly be remembered for his time at Deportivo La Coruña, where he played for eight seasons, helping the team win a famous La Liga victory in 2000, as well as a Copa del Rey and two Spanish Super Cup trophies.

Internationally, Naybet is an iconic figure of the Moroccan national team, playing for 17 consecutive years and amassing an impressive total of 115 caps, remaining the only Moroccan to have surpassed 100 international matches. He notably participated in the Olympic Games, two FIFA World Cups in 1994 and 1998, and six Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.

Q1: Noureddine, thank you for speaking with us. Let’s start with your recent appointment as an ambassador for the Morocco, Portugal, and Spain bid for the FIFA World Cup 2030. What does this role mean to you?

A: It was a true honor to be chosen as an ambassador for this bid. As a Moroccan, seeing my country host its first FIFA World Cup in line with the vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, would be incredibly special, and I think it would have an incredible impact on the entire country. I also greatly appreciated my time in Portugal and Spain, two countries I know well and believe would be excellent hosts for the World Cup. Bringing these three countries together to organize the first transcontinental FIFA World Cup  is a historic opportunity for international football, and I am excited to be part of this journey.

Q2: As you mentioned, you played in all three potential host countries – in Morocco with Wydad Casablanca, in Portugal with Sporting CP, and in Spain with Deportivo La Coruña. How would you describe these experiences?

A: I had very positive experiences in all three countries. I am proud to be Moroccan and it was through my journey in Morocco, particularly with Wydad, that I was shaped as a football player capable of adapting both on and off the field. I greatly enjoyed my time playing in Botola and the CAF Champions League. In Portugal, where I played for one season, and in Spain, where I spent seven seasons, I also felt at home. I played alongside and against exceptional players, but what I remember most is the dedication of all the fans. Their love for football is inspiring. There is a lot of respect, friendship, and tolerance in the stadiums and beyond. All these elements will be assets to make the FIFA World Cup 2030 the best ever organized.

Q3: You are still active in football, as a mentor and coach of young talents. How do you see the current evolution of Moroccan football and what are your expectations for the national team in 2030?

A: Moroccan football has never been in a better position. This is largely due to the support of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, who has provided a clear vision for the development of football, as part of Morocco’s sports development plan. This is already bearing fruit, with a historic performance by the men’s team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the qualification of the women’s team for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a first in our history.

Morocco is investing in football in the best possible way, offering more opportunities to young people and providing them with top-quality infrastructure and coaching. We are creating national teams capable of competing internationally, thus inspiring the next generation. By 2030, I think you can expect a very competitive Moroccan team!

Q4: Morocco has also hosted more and more international football events. What do you think of those organized so far and what lessons can be learned for the FIFA World Cup 2030 bid?

A: The main lesson is that we are ready! As you pointed out, Morocco has hosted some of the biggest international football events in recent years, including the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which attracted record crowds. The commitment of our fans to creating an incredible atmosphere has been remarkable.

This has not gone unnoticed by CAF and FIFA, and we will continue to host major events in the coming years, including the Africa Cup of Nations in 2025 and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup  from 2025 to 2029. We will learn from each experience and, with the continued support of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco will be more than ready to welcome the world in 2030.

Q5: In your opinion, what will be the impact of the FIFA World Cup 2030 in Morocco?

A: Hosting the FIFA World Cup 2030 will be a true transformation for our country. From a footballing perspective, I can’t think of a more impactful way to encourage continued engagement and support for the sport, especially among young people. I think it will help our country continue to develop and be competitive in the years to come.

But the impact will go beyond football. I fully support the vision of the bid for the FIFA World Cup 2030, which is focused on social cohesion, sustainability, investment opportunities, and innovation. Our country has immense potential in many areas, and I am very excited to see what we can achieve together.

Q6: We are witnessing many achievements in African football, on and off the field. Can hosting the World Cup in an African country benefit the entire continent?

A: The answer is clearly yes. Hosting the FIFA World Cup could be transformative for Africa. Football can be a catalyst for large-scale development across the continent. We often forget that this would only be the second time the FIFA World Cup is held in Africa in 100 years of history. I have no doubt that it will inspire millions of young footballers across the continent. But beyond inspiration, the FIFA World Cup 2030 will bring innovative solutions to improve football across Africa. All successful ideas, innovations, and new standards developed will be shared with football associations worldwide, including in Africa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of YallaVamos 2030.

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