Bilal El Khannouss: the Youngest Football Player in Morocco’s World Cup Team
Bilal El Khannouss has been called up by the official national team of Morocco, managed by head coach Walid Regragui, to participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The youngest player on the national football team, the Atlas lion, garnered worldwide attention in Belgium for his outstanding achievements with Racing Genk.
After the young, talented football player opted to play for Morocco rather than Belgium, Belgian media and spectators expressed profound regret.
The Moroccan football player, who was born in 2004 in Strombeek-Beever, Belgium, joined Genk at the age of 14.
El Khannouss participated in the U15 and U16 football seasons for Belgium. According to Transfer Market, the offensive midfielder is worth €4.5 million (MAD 50 million) on the football market.
With his Belgian team, the Moroccan player made 15 appearances during the Jupiler Pro League 2022–2023 and contributed one goal.
From 2009 until 2019, El Khannouss began his youth career at Anderlecht before joining Genk in 2019.
He also played in 2022’s U20 Moroccan football team.
Coach of the U21 football team Jackie Matise recently commented on El Khannouss’ selection, saying it is a “shame since he is a really excellent and fascinating player.”
On the Genk YouTube page, El Khannouss also had a talk with teammate Patrik Hrosovsky in which he revealed that he opted to play for Morocco in order to honor his grandparents.
The football star admitted that while Morocco was his “heart’s desire,” he was honored to be selected by Belgium’s national squad.
El Khannouss said in an interview with the sports news website Kooora that Roberto Martinez had contacted to ask him to represent Belgium.
“I feel proud because it shows that I’m heading in the right direction… Since the Belgium squad features outstanding talents, this does not occur with many players, he said.
Bilal El Khannouss stressed that the media was pressuring him to change his mind about playing for Morocco.
“I refuse to give in to pressure of any kind. I decided to represent Morocco, and I made my decision and announcement public,” he continued.
Wouter Vrancken, the head coach of Racing Genk, “Bilal gives the squad greater solidity, but I think he can be even more forceful. Playing is the only way to practice that.”
He underlined that the football player fit the mold of a leader, saying that “his drive to get better is what matters most.”
El Khannouss is motivated by several of his national team colleagues, particularly Soufiane Boufal and Hakim Ziyech, two of Morocco’s most important players.
During the World Cup, the biggest football competition in the world, Walid Regragui made the decision to offer El Khannouss the chance to play with the other football stars who served as his inspiration.
Morocco was placed in Group F of the World Cup along with Belgium, Croatia, and Canada