Saturday 15 June 2024

AFCON-2023: Morocco Delivers ‘Best Performance’ on Day 1 (Spanish Media)

Madrid – On the first day of Group F in the 34th edition of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) in Côte d’Ivoire, the Moroccan team, semi-finalists at the last World Cup in Qatar, delivered “the best performance”, according to reports from Spanish sports media on Thursday.

“Expectations were high to see Qatar’s World Cup surprise team in this African Cup, and they didn’t disappoint,” says the daily “Marca”, adding that the Atlas Lions presented their bid from the very first match, beating Tanzania (3-0).

“Morocco did their best against a Tanzanian team that was several notches below the big favorites, including Morocco,” notes the specialist newspaper, adding that Walid Regragui’s men’s crushing victory “was the most important of the first day.”

As a result, writes the Madrid-based AS newspaper, Morocco “is off to a good start at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations,” noting that “the Atlas Lions are, in fact, the favorites who put in the best performance.”

“Morocco’s undisputed victory” against Tanzania, who “didn’t even test goalkeeper Yassine Bounou,” the sports daily points out.

The team coached by Walid Regragui, a former Racing Santander player, has what it takes to do well at this AFCON, thanks to a balance between experienced players such as Hakimi, Saïss, Ziyech, and Amrabat, and younger players such as Ezzalzouli, Bilal El Khannouss, and Amine Adli, the latter of whom provided the assist in the match against Tanzania, details “AS.”

Morocco made a fine start to the competition, beating their Tanzania 3-0 on Wednesday at the Laurent Pokou stadium in San Pedro, on the 1st day of Group F at the AFCON.

At the end of the day, the Atlas Lions occupy first place in Group F with 3 points, followed by DR Congo and Zambia (both 1 pt), and Tanzania (0 pt).


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he Moroccan National Football Team secured a large victory against Congo Brazzaville 6-0 on Tuesday at the Agadir Grand Stadium in the 4th round of Group E (African zone) qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

The Atlas Lions’ goals were scored by Azzeddine Ounahi (8’), Chadi Riad (16’), Ayoub El Kaabi (20’, 39’, 53’) and Soufiane Rahimi (62’).

Morocco beat Zambia 2-1 on Friday at Agadir’s Adrar Stadium in the 3rd Day of Group E (African zone) qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

The Atlas Lions won thanks to goals from Hakim Ziyech (6th) and Eliesse Ben Seghir (67th). Edouard Chilufya (80th) scored for Zambia.

With this victory, Morocco consolidate their position at the top of Group E with six points from two matches.

The game against Congo Brazzaville, part of matchday 4, will be held on June 11 at Agadir’s Adrar Stadium (8pm), instead of the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Moroccan national football team will play Congo Brazzaville, on June 11 at the Grand Stadium of Agadir, for the 4th day of the African qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) announced.

FRMF had received a letter from FIFA informing it that the Congo Brazzaville-Morocco match will be held at the Grand Stadium of Agadir on June 11 (8 p.m.) instead of the Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, FRMF pointed out in a press release.

Atlas Lions will play Zambia tonight in Agadir for the 3rd round of these qualifiers.

Morocco tops Group E with 3 points, following their away victory against Tanzania (0-2) on November 21. Zambia, Niger and Tanzania, who have each played two matches, also have 3 points. 

Head coach of the Moroccan national team Walid Regragui said, on Thursday in Agadir, that the Atlas Lions’ objective is to win their match against Zambia and stay top of Group E of the African qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2026.

“We will do what is necessary to get the three victory points to stay ahead in our group,” he told a pre-match press conference before the Morocco-Zambia game, scheduled for Friday at the Adrar Stadium in Agadir for Matchday 3 (Group E).

“Zambia are a team we know well, having played them at the last Africa Cup of Nations, but Friday’s match will be held in front of our own fans and will certainly be different from AFCON,” he said.

In this regard, he noted that the Moroccan national team “can do better than their recent performances. In the last two games, we scored a goal (against Angola in a friendly), but the important thing is to have chances which we need to convert”, he added, noting that “it’s not a question of attacking play, because the national team creates a lot of chances, but we’re still lacking in goal-scoring efficiency”.

“We have talented players. But working at club level is different from working for the national team. With the succession of matches, I think the players will be more at ease and therefore more effective,” he said.

“Playing at home means we have to win, but the important thing is to qualify for the World Cup,” stressed Regragui, explaining that “qualification is a marathon with several matches, and we’re well prepared for this marathon. Our ambition is to give Morocco a third consecutive appearance at the World Cup”.

For his part, Zambia coach Avram Grant noted that his team would be facing a Moroccan side packed with stars who play in the world’s top leagues, with the ambition of winning the game, adding that Friday’s encounter would be different from that of the last AFCON.

Morocco lead Group E with 3 points, after their away win over Tanzania (0-2) on November 21. Zambia, Niger and Tanzania, who played two matches, also have 3 points.

Morocco’s national beach soccer team on Monday started a training camp at the Mohammed VI Football Complex in Maâmora (suburbs of Salé), the Royal Moroccan Football Federation said.

Fifteen players have been called up by national head coach Gilberto Da Costa de Souza to participate in this training course, which runs until May 7th.

The players called up are Yasser Abada, Manar M’hamed, Anouar Al Abbasi, Ibrahim Abagli, Reda Zahraoui, Adnane Oubahri and Radouane Ennaciri.

They also include Mustapha Tais, Amine Al Bidouri, Zouhair Jabbary, Driss Ghannam, Badr Al Kraichly, Mohamed Essahli, Ali El Khdym and Mourad Youssef.

The head coach of the Moroccan Olympic team, Tarik Sektioui, has called up 26 players in preparation for the friendly game against Belgium, scheduled for June 4 at Moulay El Hassan Stadium in Rabat, as part of the preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The national team will play Argentina, Ukraine and Iraq in the group stage of the Olympic tournament.


– Goalkeepers: Alaa Bellaarouch (RC Strasbourg/France), Walid Hasbi (RC Strasbourg/France), Rachid Ghanimi (FUS Rabat), Mohamed Reda Asmama (Union Touarga).

– Defenders: Omar El Hilali (RCD Espanyol/Spain), Zakaria Elouahdi (KRC Genk/Belgium), Mohamed Jaouab (Amiens SC/France), Mehdi Boukamir (R Charleroi SC/Belgium), Ayman Elwafi (FC Lugano/Switzerland), Adil Tahif (RS Berkane), Ayoub Amraoui (Amiens SC/France), Adam Aznou (Bayern Munich/Germany), Akram Nakach (Union Touarga), Haytam Manaout (Union Touarga). 

– Midfielders: Benjamin Bouchouari (AS Saint-Etienne/France), Yassine Kechta (Le Havre AC/France), Mohamed Nassoh (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands), Amine Souane (MC Oujda).      

– Forwards: Montassir Lahtimi (Wydad Casablanca), Salim Eljebari (Atletico de Madrid/Spain), Amine Elouazzani (EA Guingamp/France), Yanis Begraoui (Pau FC/France), El Mehdi Maouhoub (Raja de Casablanca), Tawfik Bentayeb (Union Touarga), Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Real Betis/Spain), Ibrahim Salah (Stade Rennais FC/France).