• Press review: Nouri out of coma, but brain damage unchanged

    (AFP) Stricken Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri, who suffered serious, lasting brain damage after collapsing during a friendly, has been transferred out of intensive care, and can breathe on his own, the club said Tuesday.

    The 20-year-old is being cared for at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, where he was brought on July 14 from a hospital in Austria.

    "He is no longer in an induced coma and has full respiratory functions," the club said, in a statement issued in the name of Nouri's family.

    But it added soberly that "his condition further remains unchanged from previous updates and is stable, but with serious and permanent brain damage."

    Tributes have poured in from across The Netherlands and from abroad for the youngster, affectionately known as Appie, who joined the Amsterdam club at age seven and was a promising prospect.

    Nouri suffered irregular heart problems in a pre-season friendly against German side Werder Bremen in Austria on July 8 and collapsed. He was resuscitated and flown to an Innsbruck hospital by helicopter.

    At first the news seemed positive, but hopes for a quick recovery were shattered when Ajax later announced he had suffered massive brain damage, most due to a lack of oxygen.

    Dozens of visitors have flocked to the Amsterdam hospital grounds to pay tribute to Nouri since he arrived back in the country on July 14.

    A large hedge 100 metres (yards) from the entrance is decked with Ajax scarves, flowers, poems, children's drawings and Ajax shirts bearing Nouri's number 34, all accompanied by the slogan '#StayStrongAppie'.

    "The whole country is affected, not just Amsterdam. It was like it happened to our son," said Connie, a mother of four who went to the hospital to lay roses.

    The youngster, who broke into the first team last season and had made nine appearances in the Dutch top flight, will not be forgotten at the Amsterdam Arena, despite not being able to play again.

    - 'Pray for Abdelhak' -

    Whiteboards are hung on the walls so fans can write messages of support, alongside the words '#Forevernumber34', and '#PrayforAppie'.

    A group of young Real Madrid fans from Spain also stopped at the stadium.

    "It's impossible not to be touched by his story. He's only 20 years old," one of them said.

    In the opening match of the women's 2017 Euro in the Netherlands, where Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were present, a minute's applause was held in the 34th minute.

    Ajax's rivals PSV Eindhoven posted a photo of their players holding up papers bearing the words '#StayStrongAppie' on Instagram, while Nice also voiced support before the match in France on Wednesday.

    Many other clubs including Manchester United, who beat Ajax in May's Europa League final, did the same on social media.

    And Nouri's team-mates will be hoping to pay a fitting tribute of their own, as they go into this season looking to capture the Dutch league title for the 34th time.

    In their statement, his family again thanked fans for their support and asked everyone "to pray for Abdelhak".

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  • Transfers: Betis Sevilla complete the signing of Zouhair Feddal

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Spanish outfit Betis Sevilla have completed the signing of Moroccan defender Zouhair Feddal from Alaves. Feddal has signed a four year deal till June 2021.

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  • Press review: Manuel da Costa signs for Istanbul Basaksehir

    (ESPN) Morocco international Manuel da Costa has returned to Turkish football, signing for Istanbul Basaksehir after ending his stay with Olympiakos.

    The versatile defender has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Super Lig side, as confirmed on Basaksehir's official website.

    Da Costa previously spent two seasons with Sivasspor, and will be looking to help his new club reach the playoff round of Champions League qualification, after being drawn against Club Brugge in the third qualifying round.

    It remains to be seen whether the centre-back will be in contention to feature in the first leg in Belgium on Wednesday evening.

    Da Costa, who was named in Morocco's squad for the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, began his career with Nancy in France before moving onto PSV Eindhoven in 2006, where he would win two Dutch titles.

    His performances in the Netherlands caught the eye of Fiorentina, but he struggled to establish himself in Tuscany and moved onto West Ham United after a brief loan at Sampdoria.

    The defender subsequently spent time with Lokomotiv Moscow and Nacional, while he won two Greek titles with Olmypiakos.

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  • Transfers: Zouhir Feddal to join Betis from Alaves.

    Zouhir Feddal is set to join Betis from Alaves.

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  • Press review: CAF Appoints Fouzi Lekjaa as 3rd Vice President

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – The Confederation of African Football appointed Fouzi Lekjaa as its third vice president during CAF Extraordinary General Assembly, held on Friday in Skhirat, near Rabat.

    During the meeting, CAF also appointed the members of its Emergency Committee for the 2017-2021 period: Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana) , Omari Constant (Congo), Fouzi Lekjaa (Morocco) , Amaju Pinnick (Nigeria), Hassan Waberi (Djibouti), and Musa Bility (Liberia). The committee will be chaired by Ahmad Ahmad, president of the CAF.

    Lekjaa, who is the president of Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) and the president of the CAF Finance Committee, will become one of the three CAF’s president deputies, alongside Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana and Omari Constant Selemani of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Morocco has recently hosted two prominent football events: namely the African Football Symposium and CAF Extraordinary General Assembly, during which the future of African football was discussed in the attendance of national and international football figures.

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  • Transfers: Nacer Barazite goes to Turkey

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Free agent Nacer Barazite has agreed to join Turkish side Evkur Yeni Malatyaspor.

    The 27-year-old has represented FC Utrecht, AS Monaco, Arsenal, Austria Vienna and NEC Nijmegen.

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  • CAF: African Nations Cup to be moved to June/July from 2019

    RABAT (Reuters) - The African Nations Cup will move from January to June and July from its next staging in Cameroon in 2019, and be expanded from 16 to 24 teams, the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) decided on Thursday.

    The change of timing will be welcomed by European club sides, many of whom have lost players at vital periods of the season in years gone by because of the time slot.

    The changes were approved at a meeting in Rabat as the executive committee adopted recommendations made at a wide-ranging symposium in Morocco earlier in the week.

    Other decisions taken at the meeting included the awarding of the 2021 and 2023 Nations Cups to the Ivory Coast and Guinea respectively.

    Major changes have also been introduced to Africa's Champions League and Confederation Cup tournaments, which will now run from August to May, like the UEFA Champions League, rather than over the course of a calendar year.

    This week's symposium was called by new CAF president Ahmad and was aimed at overhauling the game in Africa.

    CAF hold a congress in Rabat on Friday to pass changes to the body's statutes in order to bring it in line with recent FIFA changes.

    The expansion of the Nations Cup puts pressure on 2019 hosts Cameroon, who have denied claims that they are behind in their preparations.

    “I would like to reassure the national and international opinion that the government is fully committed to fulfilling the CAF’s specifications and to date, no CAF mission has reported any delay in preparations,” said Cameroon sports minister Ismael Bidoung.

    African football chiefs are due to inspect Cameroon's tournament preparation in September, with Morocco on stand-by as a potential back-up host if needed.

    "Morocco will not hesitate for a second to respond favourably to any invitation to host this Nations Cup,” said their football association president Faouzi Lekjaa when asked.

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  • Transfers: Marouane Da Costa goes to Turkey

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Manuel Da Costa joins İstanbul Başakşehir (2nd last season) from Olympiacos.

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  • Transfers: Getafe sign Depor's Fajr

    (Football Espana) Getafe have completed the signing of Deportivo La Coruna midfielder Faycal Fajr on a two-year contract, it has been confirmed.

    The Moroccan international is the latest signing for the newly-promoted club after making 66 appearances for the Galicians across two seasons at the club.

    Capped 16 times for his country, the 28-year-old has previously enjoyed stints at Caen and Elche.

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  • Transfers: Youngster Anouar El Mhassani joins the Club from Ajax

    West Ham United are delighted to confirm the signing of exciting Dutch prospect Anouar El Mhassani.

    The 16-year-old joins the Club on a three-year deal having left last season’s Eredivisie runners-up Ajax.

    The youngster, who spent eight years with the Amsterdam outfit, is a left-footed attacking midfielder who can also operate on either flank.

    El Mhassani was a regular in Ajax’s youth teams last season and is looking forward to getting started in east London having put pen to paper with the Hammers.

    “Of course it’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “I feel really pleased to be here. It’s a big step for me in my life as well as my football career, but I feel as though I am ready.

    “After eight years at Ajax, I feel like I have seen it all and this is a new challenge, so it’s good for me.

    “West Ham’s success in the Academy is something that I kept in my mind. West Ham is a good Academy, so it was a good step for me to come here and develop myself.”

    Over the last year, the Hammers have seen the likes of Toni Martinez and Domingos Quina arrive from elsewhere in Europe and flourish in London, with the duo both establishing themselves as key players for the U23s in 2016/17.

    Read more at http://www.whufc.com/news/articles/2017/july/19-july/youngster-anouar-el-mhassani-joins-club-ajax#sRSjIzpwLlZyhAeV.99

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