Morocco star Sofaine Boufal was at the center of controversy after failing to acknowledge Africa during a post-match interview after their historic win over Spain.
On Tuesday, the Atlas Lions sent shock waves throughout the African continent after knocking out Spain 3-0 in the round of 16 post-match penalties at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.
Abdelhamid Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech, and Achraf Hakimi slotted home their spot kicks while Spain remarkably failed to score from their three penalty kicks taken as Morocco’s Sevilla goalkeeper Yaccine Bounou saved Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets kicks while Pablo Sarabia hit the bar.
In the process, Morocco became the fourth African nation in the history of the World Cup to qualify for the quarter-final.
In a comment after their surprise victory over Spain, Boufal told international media that their win was for the Arab world.
“Thanks to all Moroccans all over the world for their support, to all Arab people, and to all Muslim people,” he has been quoted as saying.
The remarks come after much of Africa joined the country in celebrating with them after they handed a shock defeat to Spain through penalty knock-outs.
Across social media, people have hailed Morocco as an African victory. After the exit of Senegal, Cameroon and Ghana, people in different African countries have naturally adopted Morocco.
The remarks have raised issues over Morocco’s own identity where it has identified itself with people outside of Africa.
On Wednesday, the former Southampton winger apologised to Africans for forgetting to mention the continet.
He posted an apology on Instagram: "Sorry for forgetting to mention ALL of the African continent yesterday in the post-match interview. Thank you for being behind us, I also dedicate the victory to you of course. We are proud to represent all our brothers on the continent. TOGETHER... "