• Transfers: Sofyane Amrabat admits to feeling flattered by Premier League link

    Morocco’s Sofyane Amrabat says he is “flattered” after being linked with a move to Premier League club Watford.

    The 20-year-old, who plays his club football with FC Utrecht in the Netherlands, is the younger brother of Watford’s wingback Nordin Amrabat.

    Sofyane was born in Holland and represented the European country at junior level, but changed his international allegiance to Morocco back in 2013 when he represented the North Africans in the U-17 World Cup.

    He made his Atlas Lions senior debut in a friendly international against Tunisia earlier this year.

    "Sure, you feel flattered if you're linked with Premier League clubs. It's a sign that you are doing well. But then again, it's nothing,” he told Fox Sports.

    "Sure, it's a dream to play football with my brother," continued Amrabat.

    "The Premier League is also a competition where I want to go. But we have not yet discussed it with our parents at the kitchen table!"

    http://africanfootball.com//news/704087/Sofyane-Amrabat-admits-to-feeling-flattered-by-Premier-League-link

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  • Qatar: El Arabi To End Season As Top Scorer of Qatari League

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – With only one game left for the football Qatari club Lekhwiya to end the season, the team already secured a fifth title.

    Led by the Algerian coach Jamal Belmadi, Lekhwiya largely owes the championship to its Moroccan striker Youssef El Arabi.

    Despite losing his place as Morocco’s centre forward, El Arabi nonetheless has had a great season in Qatar.

    With 24 gaols this season and his main rival, Algerian Baghdad Bounjah, being absent from the next game, El Arab is due to end the season as top scorer.

    The former Granada striker will be the second Moroccan in row to win the golden foot in Qatar after Abderazak Hamadallah.

    El Arabi was the main striker of Moroccan football team since 2012 before being replaced by newcomers such as Aziz Bouhaddouz and Youssef Enneceri.

    Youssef El Arabi moved to Lekwiya last summer after 4 season with Granada. He became the team’s top scorer in La Liga.

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  • Hakim Ziyech: I will not play for Morocco as long as Renard is the coach of the Atlas Lions

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Ajax starlet Hakim Ziyech will not play for Morocco as long as Herve Renard is the coach of The Atlas Lions, that is what he said in an interview with Dutch NOS.

    "I will not play for Morocco as long as Renard is the coach of the Atlas Lions, it's personal and when he leaves I will rejoin the Atlas Lions, I have no regrets for wearing the Moroccan jersey!" Hakim Ziyech told NOS.

    See full interview:

    https://www.facebook.com/TheAtlasLions/videos/1438672452821882/

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  • FIFA World Ranking: Morocco drops to the 53rd place in the World and 10th in Africa

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco dropped to the 53rd place in the FIFA World ranking and dropped to 10th place in Africa.

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  • Press review: Amrabat, from washing dishes to World Cup dreams

    (FIFA.com) Aged just 13, Nordin Amrabat received news that would change his life forever. Ajax were letting him go. Due, in part, to missing a chunk of playing time as a result of contracting Osgood-Schlatter Disease in his knees, the youngster was seemingly on the footballing scrapheap before his career had begun.

    “It was hard,” Amrabat recalled in an interview with FIFA.com. “I trained at the Sportcomplex De Toekomst, which is a few hundred metres from the Amsterdam ArenA. You can see the stadium, it’s a big dream to play there. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it at Ajax, but I’m happy where I am now.”

    Fast forward more than a decade and the flying Moroccan winger has every reason to be content with his career to date. After cleaning the floors of a local school and washing dishes in a restaurant following his release from the Dutch giants, Amrabat was making plans to study Management, Economics and Law, but was discovered playing amateur football by Dutch second-tier side Omniworld. Within two years, he was playing UEFA Champions League football for the country’s champions PSV Eindhoven and would later go on to win trophies at Turkish giants Galatasaray.

    What was the secret behind his rapid rise?

    “I’m a humble guy, I always do my best,” Amrabat said. “Whether I’m playing in an amateur team, cleaning dishes or playing in the Champions League, everything that you do in life you need to be focused at 100 per cent, and that’s what I always do.”

    Now at Watford in the English Premier League, where he is “very happy” in a “good, competitive competition”, the forward seems to have been driven on by those early setbacks. Another motivating factor behind the Moroccan’s ambition is a tournament that will turn 20 years old by the time the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ comes around: France 1998. While still a starry-eyed schoolboy in the Netherlands, a young Amrabat watched his Moroccan idols impress at the World Cup two decades ago.

    “I remember the game against Scotland (a 3-0 win for the Atlas Lions) - it was a good match,” Amrabat recalled with clear fondness in his voice. “Everyone was excited and enjoyed it a lot. I also remember the game against Brazil, who had Ronaldo, Morocco lost 3-0. There was a good goal by [Mustafa] Hadji against Norway, too.”

    Football has a way of throwing up some remarkable coincidences and, after idolising the former Deportivo La Coruña and Aston Villa schemer, Amrabat now spends every international break with him.

    “Hadji was one of my favourite players,” Amrabat smiled. “He’s now our assistant coach in the national team – a fantastic guy. In the beginning, it was special, but now he’s one of us!”

    Atlas Lions roaring in Russia?

    Morocco have not returned to the global stage since those heady days of Hadji, Nourredine Naybet and Co, something that Amrabat and his team-mates are looking to rectify in the final round of African qualifiers for Russia 2018. Group C contains the Atlas Lions, as well as Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, with the latter currently serving a suspension until further notice.

    “African football is always different,” Amrabat said. “The opponents are always strong, fast and can play good football. At the moment, there are a number of foreign coaches who are technically good. It is hard to win, African football isn’t easy. We have a good group, coach and staff and a good mentality – hopefully, we can reach Russia.”

    The nation’s supporters have waited almost two decades to reach a global finals. Amrabat knows the excitement that reaching a World Cup can bring, the possible future stars it can inspire. For the Moroccan winger, helping his nation reach Russia and in the process emulating his idol Hadji would be another remarkable step on a journey that almost ended before it began.

    “It would be fantastic, for sure,” Amrabat concluded. “Everybody in the country would be happy, and hopefully, we can make this dream come true.”

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  • Official: Morocco to play Holland in Agadir on May 31st

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco football federation (FRMF) has confirmed today the friendly of the Atlas Lions with Dutch Oranje. The match will take place in Agadir's Adrar Stadium on Wednesday May 31st at 21h00 GMT, 23h00 CET.

    Morocco are warming up for the AFCON 2019 qualifiers and the WC2018 qualifiers.

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  • Adel Taarabt: I Hope to Rejoin the Moroccan Team

    (Morocco World News) Genoa’s midfielder, Adel Taarabt, has expressed his desire to play for the Moroccan national football team again.

    The Moroccan footballer is currently playing for the Italian club Genoa FC as a midfielder.

    Taarabt’s desire may come true if he succeeds in developing his football techniques with the Italian club, which might push the Moroccan national team’s coach, Herve Renard, to call him to serve his national team in the future.

    Taarabt told the press that he wants to join the Moroccan team after being away from the squad for a long term.

    “I’d be happy to join the Moroccan team in the future, and I will do my best with Genoa to have the opportunity to get back my Moroccan team’s jersey which I was hoping to defend during the African Cup of Nations,” Taarabt said. .

    He went on to add that his current status made him seriously think of playing for the of the Moroccan team.

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  • World Cup: CAF chief Ahmad backs Morocco 2026 World Cup bid

    Rabat (AFP) – New African football chief Ahmad Ahmad gave his backing on Tuesday to a potential bid from Morocco to host the 2026 World Cup.

    The north African country has bid to host the global showpiece on four previous occasions but missed out on the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions.

    “We are convinced that Morocco could organise this competition just as was done by South Africa in 2010,” said Ahmad, who was elected president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) earlier this month to replace Issa Hayatou, at a press conference in Marrakesh.

    Ahmad’s backing comes just a few months after FIFA president Gianni Infantino declared that the country has the necessary “infrastructure and organisational capacity” to host the World Cup.

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  • Press review: The big match

    Morocco 1-0 Tunisia

    (FIFA.com) Buoyed by their quarter-final finish at the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations and Friday's 2-0 victory against Burkina Faso, Morocco grabbed another impressive win in Marrakech on Tuesday. Herve Renard's in-form charges made a determined start and opened the scoring with just 14 minutes gone, the unfortunate Hamza Younes heading into his own net from a Faycal Fajr free-kick. The Atlas Lions threatened several times to double their lead but were denied by goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha, whose saves were not enough to spare Tunisia a second consecutive defeat following their home loss to Cameroon on Friday.

    What they said

    "Not everything was perfect. We created a lot of chances but only scored one goal, and it wasn't even us who scored because it was an own goal. We still have to improve our finishing, but our attitude and collective pressing were good," Morocco coach Herve Renard

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  • NT: Morocco beats Tunisia 1-0 in friendly

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco beats Tunisia 1-0 in a friendly played in Marrakesh on Tuesday. The sole goal of the match was an own goal by Hamza Younes.

    Final Whistle!

    90' Khalid Boutaib replaced Aziz Bouhaddouz

    60' Oualid Azarou replaced injured En-Nesyri

    Second half underway!

    HALF TIME!

    27' Abdelilah Hafidi replaced injured Mehdi Carcela

    Morocco leads 1-0 by own goal of Tunisia (Hamza Younes)

    See goal: https://www.facebook.com/TheAtlasLions/videos/1430369803652147/

    Match: Morocco vs Tunisia

    Competition: Friendly

    Kickoff: 18h00 GMT, 20h00 CET

    Location: Grande Stadium de Marrakech

    Morocco starting lineup:

    Bounou Yassine-Dirar Nabil-Jouad El Yamiq-Ghanem Saiss-Mohamed Nahiri-Soufian Amrabat-Mbark Boussoufa (C)-Mehdi Carcela-Faycal Fajr-Youssef En-Nesyri-Aziz Bouhaddouz

    LIVE STREAMING VIDEO: https://youtu.be/XBd8-jibnw4

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