NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13- Hopes of the World Cup coming to the African continent for the second time in history were dashed when Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 games failed after losing to a joint bid by the United States, Canada and Morocco in the voting process at FIFA’s Congress on Wednesday.
Morocco garnered only 65 of the 203 votes cast while the ‘United Bid’ gathered 134 votes, 67pc of the total cast. A total of 203 associations voted with the four bidding nations exempted. Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands did not enter to vote.
And just like president Gianni Infantino had promised in his quest for transparency and accountability, how each association voted was made public.
Kenya which had promised beforehand that they will be backing Morocco did not go back on their word with Nick Mwendwa pressing his vote in favor of the North Africans.
Kenya has been one of the beneficiaries of Morocco’s generosity, having hosted the Harambee Starlets in a 10-day camp prior to their participation at the African Women’s Cup of Nations in 2016 and most recently hosted Harambee Stars for two friendly matches against central Africa Republic and Comoros.
Africa was expected to vote as a bloc and it was almost so, save for 10 countries of the 51 that cast their votes. The entire CECAFA region backed Morocco, but the varieties came with the West and Southern Africans.
Interestingly, South Africa which hosted Africa’s first ever World Cup in 2010 did not vote for Morocco, instead opting for the United Bid.
Guinea, Liberia, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Botswana all did not vote for the Moroccans.
Most of Europe went in favor of the United Bid, but interestingly, giants like Italy, Turkey, Netherlands, Belgium and Serbia voted in favor of Morocco. Brazil who hosted the 2014 showpiece also went for the North Africans.
Arabian countries were hugely in favor of Morocco’s bidding including 2022 hosts Qatar. However, Saudi Arabia voted in favor of the American bid.
Here is a breakdown of how each of the 203 Associations voted.