Club World Cup draw in Morocco sees top world teams square up in February

Club World Cup draw in Morocco sees top world teams square up in February [Graphics: Hope Mukami]

The winners of the various continental cups, including Real Madrid, Wydad, Flamengo, and Al Ahly, will come together this February in a competition to determine the best football club on the planet.

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The 2022 FIFA Club World Cup opening game will take place on 1st February and will see Egypt’s Al Ahly take on New Zealanders Auckland City.

This is according to the results of the draw that took place on Friday (January 13) in Sale, Morocco.

The Club World Cup will take place between February 1-11 in Morocco after FIFA decided to postpone the competition in favour of the Qatar World Cup that took place between November and December 2022.

Seven clubs from around the world will play in the cities of Rabat and Tangier in a competition for global supremacy in club soccer.

“We’re looking very much forward to [coming] to Rabat and to Tangier, to visit an entire country, and to cheer for the champions of all the continents and see who finally will be crowned champion of the world,” FIFA President, Gianni Infantino said.

The seven-team tournament includes Champions League winners from every region of the world and an additional spot reserved for the host country’s league champions.

Since this year’s hosts, Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca, also won the African Champions League, their spot as host nation was passed on to the African Champions League runners-up, Al Ahly of Egypt.

The Club World Cup participating teams are Al Hilal (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Seattle Sounders (USA), Flamengo (Brazil), Auckland City (New Zealand), Real Madrid (Spain), Al Ahly (Egypt), and Wydad (Morocco).

The opening match (Al Ahly vs Auckland City) will be a battle for a spot in the second round, with the winner taking on Seattle Sounders from the USA on 4th February.

Al Ahly, considered Egypt’s most successful club in Egyptian history, failed to carry the CAF championship title last year after they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Wydad Casablanca.

However, they will be a hard team to beat, with their appearance in the tournament confirming their reputation.

The upcoming edition will mark their eighth appearance, in addition to picking up the bronze medal in 2006, 2020, and 2021.

If Al Ahly trounces Auckland city, they will be keen to secure a win in their second match against Seattle Sounders, as this guarantees them a spot in the semi-finals to face European champions and four-time club world cup winners Real Madrid.

The host association representatives, CAF Champions League winners Wydad, under the leadership of renowned coach Walid Regragui, will meet Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the second round on 4th February.

The winner of this match will take on South American champions, Flamengo, in the semis.

The total prize for the event is $16.5 million, spread across the seven-team field.

The winner will take home $5 million, the runner-up will receive $4 million, and third place team will get $2.5 million. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh places will take $ 2 million, $1.5 million, $1 million and $0,5 million, respectively.

Morocco is hosting the Club World Cup for the third time after successfully hosting the tournament in 2013 and 2014.

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