• WC 2026: Trump Might Ruin US 2026 World Cup Bid

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – Sunil Gulati, President of US Soccer Federation has expressed concerns over the US 2026 World Cup bid. For Gulati, international political issues surrounding US President Donald Trump may affect the three-nation North American bid.

    Gulati described the bid as a “tough battle” for the three countries, according to to the US-based sports TV channel, ESPN .

    The United States is involved in a joint bid with Mexico and Canada to claim eligibility to host the 2026 World Cup. The three-nation North American bid has one rival: Morocco.

    The federation president is certain that the US-Canada-Mexico bid has all that it needs to make the voters support their bid.

    “We have to go out and convince what eventually will be 104 voters to vote for us,” Gulati said. He added that the North American three-nation bid seeks a “few extra votes to break the one-vote swing. But this won’t be easy.”

    Speaking about his concerns, Gulati mentioned recent US political controversies, such as the American embassy relocation to Jerusalem and Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.as potential roadblocks to the bid.

    “This is not only about our stadiums and our hotels and all that. It’s about perceptions of America and it’s a difficult time in the world,” Gulati said.

    He added that there are few things that is beyond his control. “We can’t control what happens at the 38th parallel in Korea, we can’t control what happens with embassies in Tel Aviv and we can’t control what happens with climate change accords. We do the best we can. We have the support of Washington.”

    Gulati will retire his presidency of the US Soccer Federation next month, after having served as its chairman for 12 years. Howeve, Gulati will remain the chairman of the committee board of directors for the three-nation bid.

    In December, Gulati said that the North American bidders are expecting Morocco to “campaign hard” in order to host the 2026 World Cup.

    “We expect Morocco to put forward a very good bid […], we expect them to campaign hard,” he said.

    Earlier this month, President of Morocco’s Football Federation Fouzi Lekjaa said that Morocco is ready to face the North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

    The bid will be based on a vote by all members of the FIFA. Lekjaa added that this could be in Morocco’s favor, “unlike previous times when only the Executive Committee had the last word on the matter.”

    Lekjaa said that 104 votes for Morocco would be enough for the country to host the 2026 world tournament. In June 2018, 221 national federations will gather at a congress in Moscow to finalize eligibility decisions for the 23rd FIFA World Cup host site. The candidates’ files should meet FIFA’s technical terms, including infrastructural and commercial criteria.

    Candidates will have to submit their complete candidacy files and proposals by March 16.

    Morocco submitted its candidacy to host the tournament on August 11, 2017. Ahmad Ahmad, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, highly endorsed his nation’s bid

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  • CHAN: Is Hafidi Out of the African Nations Championship?

    Morocco World News - Rabat – Injured in the first minutes of the Atlas Lions’ impressive 3-1 win over Guinea last Wednesday, playmaker Abdelilah Hafidi has been declared unfit for 10 days of play by the local team’s medical staff.

    This injury marks a serious blow to the tactical game and morale of the Atlas Lions, especially considering that Achraf Bencharki, another vital playmaker, may not continue with the team given his imminent move to the Saudi El Halil squad following the tournament

    Hafidi suffered a muscular strain in his groin 17 minutes into the Guinea game last Wednesday., at which time he was replaced by Walid El Karti of Wydad Casablanca. Said Zkini, the leading medic with the local Lions said that Hafidi would not be able to play for at least ten consecutive days.

    As a result, the local playmaker won’t feature in the upcoming game against Sudan this on Sunday, which will determine the tournament leaders. Hafidi will also be quarter-final play.

    Should Morocco reach the semifinals, Hafidi could return for the local Lions’ prospective final triumph.

    Despite this setback, coach Jamal Sellami, sees no reason to panic, as he believes that every single player must feel integral to the success of the team if the squad is to go far in the tournament.

    “Everyone is important, but no one is indispensable”, Sellami concluded.

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  • Transfers: RHERRAS JOINS HIBERNIAN

    Hibernian can confirm that defender Faycal Rherras has joined the Club on loan from KV Mechelen until the end of the season, subject to international clearance.

    http://www.hibernianfc.co.uk/news/8348

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  • Botola Pro: Faouzi Benzarti appointed new Wydad Casablanca coach

    African Champions Wydad Casablanaca have appointed 68-year-old Tunisian Faouzi Benzarti as their new coach on a one year, five months deal.

    Club’s president Siad Naciri confirmed the deal, “Faouzi Benzarti is officially the new coach having signed for one year, five months.”

    Faouzi succeeds Moroccan Hussein Amotta, who was recently dismissed together with his entire support staff following a poor home record.

    He returns to Botola Pro since guiding Wydad’s arch rivals Raja Casablanca to the FIFA Club World Cup final in 2014.

    Faouzi boasts an impressive record in Africa with nine Tunisian league titles, one African Champions League title and one CAF Super Cup title among other honors.

    The former Esperance du Tunis, Etoile du Sahel and ES Tunis coach has his work cut out at Wydad as he will be expected to steady the club’s sinking ship in the league where they are the defending champions and guide them in the African Champions League title defense.

    The team is currently 12th in the league 13 points off leaders Hassania Agadir.

    Wydad will take on TP Mazembe of DR Congo in this season’s CAF Super Cup.

    “Our objectives are to win titles have challenges coming up 24 February in the CAF Super Cup in addition to all other fronts,” Naciri stressed.

    http://www.soka25east.com/confirmed-faouzi-benzarti-appointed-new-wydad-casablanca-coach/

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  • Eredivisie: Ziyech prepares to face fellow Moroccans in Amsterdam derby

    (BBC Sport) Hakim Ziyech will put friendships aside when his Ajax Amsterdam side face Feyenoord on Sunday.

    Morocco's contingent of Dutch-born footballers are all good friends off the field but that, says Ajax Amsterdam's Hakim Ziyech, is all put aside this Sunday when his club take on champions Feyenoord Rotterdam, captained by Karim El Ahmadi.

    "It is always nice to meet your friends on the pitch, especially my teammates from the national team," Ziyech told BBC Sport on Friday.

    "We have a good relationship off the field. We are good friends and we go for dinner and stuff like that.

    "But before this game, there's no communication!" Ziyech added.

    Ziyech lines up against Morocco skipper El Ahmadi in the midfield battle while Feyenoord are also expected to field Sofyan Amrabat, who like Ziyech opted to play for Morocco rather than the Netherlands national team.

    The much anticipated clash marks the return of league action after the winter break and dominates this weekend's sporting agenda in the Netherlands.

    "You can see this game a little like the clash in Spain between Real (Madrid) and Barcelona ... the hate … between the supporters. We are two big clubs in the league so that's why it is such an important match," Ziyech added.

    Ajax won four league titles in a row between 2011 and 2014 but finished second in each of the three subsequent seasons.

    Last season, Feyenoord returned to former glories as they won the Dutch championship for the first time in 18 years with El Ahmadi named as the league's best player.

    This season, PSV Eindhoven - the other of the three Dutch clubs to have won the European Cup - have a five point lead at the top of the table, but Ziyech believes Ajax can haul them in.

    "Five points is not much. At the beginning of the season we had been 10 points behind so we can make it up."

    Ajax play on Sunday under a new coach in Erik ten Hag, appointed earlier this month after previous incumbent Marcel Keizer was fired in December.

    "It is different but we are getting ready," was all Ziyech offered up in answer to how things were going with the new man in charge.

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  • NT: Morocco climbs to 39th place in FIFA ranking

    Morocco's national football team has moved up by one spot to rank 39th in the latest FIFA World Ranking released on Thursday, said MAP news agency.

    Regionally and with a total of 748 points, Morocco was ranked fourth in Africa, behind Tunisia, 23rd, Senegal, 24th, and Egypt 30th. The four African teams are qualified for the final phase of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    The next FIFA World Ranking will be published on February 15th.

    ...More : https://en.yabiladi.com/articles/details/61060/morocco-climbs-39th-place-fifa.html

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  • CHAN: Sudan and Morocco battle for top spot

    (Aficanfootball.com) Sudan will lock horns with Morocco in their 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) Group A game at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Sunday.

    The Falcons of Jediane defeated Mauritania 1-0 in their previous group match which was played in Casablanca on Wednesday.

    As a result, Sudan, who are coached by Logarusic Zdravko Hrvatsko, are placed second on the Group A table with six points from two games.

    They have already booked their place in the knockout stages of the continent competition.

    Meanwhile, Morocco thrashed Guinea 3-1 in their previous group game which was played in Casablanca on Wednesday.

    The Atlas Lions, who are under the guidance of Jamal Sellami, are sitting at the top of the Group A standings with six points from two games.

    The tournament hosts have also booked their place in the quarter-finals.

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  • CHAN: El Kaabi hat-trick takes Morocco to last 8

    AFP | Ayoub el Kaabi was the hat-trick star as hosts Morocco reached the African Nations Championship quarter-finals by defeating Guinea 3-1 in Casablanca on Wednesday.

    The 24-year-old is the leading scorer with five goals in the biennial tournament for home-based footballers after bagging a brace in a 4-0 rout of Mauritania last weekend.

    His Group A treble against the Guineans was only the third in 121 Championship matches, matching the feats of Zambian Given Singuluma and Nigeria Chisom Chikatara.

    El Kaabi needs one more goal to become the highest scorer in one edition of the competition — a record he currently shares with 2009 Nations Championship sharpshooter Singuluma.

    He has emerged as a surprise star with much of the pre-tournament attention on another Moroccan striker, Achraf Bencharki from 2017 African club champions Wydad Casablanca.

    But coach Jamal Sellami has opted to start with El Kaabi, introducing Bencharki as an impact player during the second half against Mauritania and Guinea.

    Adding to the joy of El Kaabi was the presence in a packed 65,000-seat Stade Mohamed V of Morocco World Cup coach Herve Renard.

    The Frenchman was studying the best Moroccan local talent as he prepares the “Atlas Lions” to face Iran, Portugal and Spain in Russia during June.

    El Kaabi scored on 27 minutes and after Saidouba Bissiri Camara levelled within a minute, struck twice in four minutes during the second half for an ultimately comfortable win.

    Sudan joined Morocco in the knockout stage after defeating Mauritania 1-0 in the second match of a double-header with 18-year-old Walaa Eldin Musa scoring on 30 minutes.

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  • CHAN 2018: El Kaabi hat-trick leads Morocco past Guinea

    (SuperSport.com) Ayoub El Kaabi scored a hat-trick as Morocco beat Guinea 3-1 in an African Nations Championship (Chan) showdown at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Wednesday evening.

    The Moroccan forward followed his brace in the country's 4-0 thumping of Mauritania, with a man-of-the match display as the Atlas Lions move three points clear atop Group A.

    Saidouba Bissiri netted what proved a mere consolation for the West African nation.

    The hosts made their intentions clear from the onset and should've opened the scoring with three minutes on the clock, but Moroccan captain Badr Benoun could only succeed in skying his effort with the goal at his mercy.

    Pressure finally told for the hosts as the Atlas Lions hit the front in the 27th minute of the match. El Kaabi with a thunderous header that cannoned off the inside of the crossbar and into the back of the net, and despite protests from their opponents, the goal stood to the delight of the home fans.

    Guinea, though, hit back straight from the ensuing kick-off as Bissiri darted into the area before chipping the ball over the on-rushing Anas Zniti.

    The goal sparked the visitors into life, but the Syli Nationale were not able to add tot their equalizer with the scores deadlocked at the break.

    Following a rather cagey start to the second stanza, Morocco regained their lead as El Kaabi pounced on a defensive blunder before firing a left-footed shot into the back of the net in the 64th minute of the clash.

    The forward completed his hat-trick four minutes later with the easiest of finishes following a blistering counter-attack. Ismail El Haddad unselfishly teeing up his fellow attacker, who prodded home into an empty net.

    Guinea tried their level best to fight their way back into the encounter in the closing stages of the match, but Morocco held firm to claim all three points.

    The two teams will be in action again on January 21, with Morocco set to lock horns with Sudan at the same venue. Guinea will travel to Marrakech to take on Mauritania at the same time in the final round of Group A fixtures.

    Morocco (1) 3 (El Kaabi 27' 64' 68')

    Guinea (1) 1 (Bissiri 28')

    Morocco: Zniti; Jbira, Aguerd, Benoun, Nahiri - El Haddad, Barrahma, Saidi (Boulhroude 56'), Hadraf - Hafidi (El Karti 18') - El Kaabi (Bencharki 77').

    Guinea: Kante; I.Sylla, Gal Camara (Landel 72'), Ancamara, A.Bangoura - M.N'Diaye (D.Camara 48'), D.Bangoura, I.S.Sankhon - A.Camara, Sekou, Bissiri (S.Keita 75').

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  • Transfers: Amine Affane joins IFK Göteborg in swedish topflight

    http://www.ifkgoteborg.se/mobil/Nyheter/Nyhet/?v=12677

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