By The Atlas Lions, Jan 31 2017 6:01PM
(TheAtlasLions.com) Nabil El Zhar terminates contract with Las Palmas. He joined Leganes. 🇲🇦
Mounir Obbadi joins OGC Nice from Lille. Deal confirmed. 🇲🇦
Omar El Kaddouri joins Empoli from Napoli. Deal confirmed.🇲🇦
Nabil Jaadi joins Olhanense (POR) on loan from Udinese.
Moestapha El Kabir joins Antalyaspor. Deal confirmed last week.🇲🇦
Moha El Ouriachi joins Hearts (SCO) on loan from Stoke. Confirmed last week.🇲🇦
Nabil Touaizi to join Manchester City academy from Valencia.
Ouasim Bouy rejoins PEC Zwolle on loan from Juventus.🇲🇦
Abdenasser El Khayati joins ADO Den Haag on loan from QPR.🇲🇦
Younes Bnou Marzouk joins FC Chiasso on loan from Juventus. 🇲🇦
Mohamed Ofkir joins Lokeren from Lillestrom. 🇲🇦
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 31 2017 5:58PM
Herve Renard has refused to rule himself out of the Bafana Bafana coaching job, but gave a hint he remains committed to Morocco after their Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal defeat to Egypt here on Sunday.
Renard, who has been linked with a return to Southern Africa following the sacking of Shakes Mashaba, stated it was improper to speak about "such matters" when he had just finished a Nations Cup campaign with Morocco, whom he led to a first quarterfinal berth at the tournament in over a decade.
"This moment is to talk about our game [against Egypt]," Renard, dressed in his trademark white shirt, replied when asked a direct question about whether he would consider joining Bafana. "I think we need to be respectful to the Morocco football federation and not talk about such matters so soon after the game. I'm so proud of my team and they can only grow from here."
The fact that Renard - who led Zambia to Nations Cup glory in 2012 and did the same with Ivory Coast in 2015 - did not off hand dismiss the rumours linking him to SA suggests he could be open to discussing an offer, should it officially come.
But he was delighted to see his team hold Egypt right up to the last few minutes of Sunday's quarterfinal, where Mahmoud Kahraba's bundled goal was the difference as the Pharaohs booked a semifinal spot against Burkina Faso tomorrow in Libreville (9pm, live on SuperSport 4).
"We played against a strong team. We saw tonight that Egypt are back, even on a bad pitch they played good football. They were more mature than us," said Renard, who refused to use translators and alternated between French and English in the press conference.
He vowed to build on the Atlas Lions' surprise showing at the tournament here, where they qualified for the knockout stage for the first time since 2004.
"We have to keep the same fighting spirit. We will keep the core of the team - we have a fantastic captain in Medhi Benatia. But we need to bring in new players as well. Step by step, we will get there."
Having finished ahead of Ivory Coast to take Morocco to the quarters, Renard's task now will be to eliminate his former team in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, although the Lions trail the Elephants by two points after two games in their Group C, which includes Mali and Gabon.
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 30 2017 8:18AM
(AFP) Morocco coach Herve Renard said his team had been "exceptional" at the Africa Cup of Nations despite exiting the competition in the quarterfinals to Egypt on Sunday.
In their first appearance in the knockout phase of the tournament since 2004, Morocco lost 1-0 in Port-Gentil after conceding the decisive goal with just two minutes left.
"We lost the game but we have built a team that has recovered its hunger to win," said Frenchman Renard, whose side eliminated reigning champions the Ivory Coast in the group stage.
"I am proud of all the players. One by one, honestly they were exceptional.
"We must not have regrets. We must just be proud of what we have done because we have come a long way."
The coach of the triumphant Zambia side in 2012 and of Ivory Coast when they won in 2015, Renard was looking to become the first coach to win the title three times with three different countries.
But despite the disappointment he preferred to congratulate Egypt on their run to the last four.
"They are a very, very strong team who on a difficult pitch managed to play football, so when they find themselves on a better pitch it will be difficult to beat them," he said.
"We can say today that Egypt are back. They were more mature than us. We had some chances but didn't score.
"My only regret is that we couldn't get a win for all those who have worked with the team here and for all the Moroccan people not being able to continue this adventure is a shame."
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 29 2017 6:21PM
(TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco are out in the quarter-finals of the AFCON in Gabon following their defeat against Egypt 0-1 on Sunday.
Free-kick for Morocco
Saiss replaced with Alioui
3 minutes of stoppage time
87' Kahraba scores for Egypt
87' Corner for Egypt
80' Free-kick for Egypt
78' Bouhaddouz replaced with Omar El Kaddouri
77' Corner for Egypt
77' Great save Munir!
76' Free-kick for Egypt
75' Bouhaddouz heads wide
74' Kahraba booked
74' Free-kick for Morocco
70' Free-kick for Morocco
68' Bouhaddouz had a great chance, his header went wide
66' Dirar shoots in the hands of El Hadary
64' Header Da Costa wide
64' Free-kick for Morocco
63' Kahraba replaced Hafez for Egypt
62' Free-kick for Morocco
62' Save Munir
61' Header of Saiss wide
60' Chance for Bouhaddouz
55' Boussoufa hits the bar!
54' Good chance for Bouhaddouz
52' Good save Munir
49' Good save Munir
49' Free-kick for Morocco
48' Free-kick for Egypt
46' Free-kick for Morocco
Second half underway!
45' Free-kick for Morocco
41' Corner for Morocco
37' Free-kick for Morocco
35' Good chance for Saiss, his header over the bar
33' Free-kick for Morocco
30' Free-kick for Egypt
29' Free-kick for Egypt
26' Free-kick for Egypt
24' Free-kick for Morocco
23' Saiss heads wide
23' Corner for Morocco
22' Free-kick for Egypt
20' Free-kick for Egypt
17' Free-kick for Egypt
15' Save Munir
13' Tarek Hamed booked
12' Free-kick for Morocco
11' Free-kick for Morocco
6' Corner for Egypt
3' Free-kick for Egypt
2' Free-kick for Morocco
Match is underway!
Competition: AFCON 2017
Location: Port-Gentil, Gabon
Kick off: 19h00 GMT, 20h00 CET
MOROCCO starting line up:
12-Munir El Kajoui, 2-Hamza Mendyl, 4-Marouane Da Costa, 5-Mehdi Benatia (C), 6-Ghanem Saiss, 7-Youssef En-Nasyri, 8-Karim El Ahmadi, 11-Faycal Fajr, 14-Mbark Boussoufa, 17-Nabil Dirar, 20-Aziz Bouhaddouz
Coach: Herve Renard
El Hadary, Gabr, Elmohamady, Hegazy, Fathi, Hafez, Hamed, El Said, Trezeguet, Salah, Mohsen
Coach: Hector Cuper
Streaming video: http://www.yalla-shoot.com/live/10323/egypt-vs-morocco.html
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 28 2017 4:48PM
Port-Gentil (Gabon) (AFP) - Morocco coach Herve Renard has called on his side to "seize the opportunity" at the Africa Cup of Nations after fulfilling their initial objective of reaching the quarter-finals.
"It is already a privilege to be in the last eight but now we need to be much more ambitious than that," Renard told reporters ahead of Sunday's meeting with Egypt in Port-Gentil, Gabon.
Morocco made it to the quarter-finals as runners-up in Group C after eliminating the Ivory Coast, the team Renard coached to the title two years ago.
Other fancied sides like Algeria and the hosts Gabon failed to make it out of their groups and suddenly Moroccans are daring to dream of glory in a competition they have not won since 1976.
"Sometimes the African Cup can be more difficult than this so when you are lucky enough to safely negotiate the group stage against very strong teams you need to seize the opportunity," said Renard, 48.
"It would be extraordinary if we could go a lot further."
Morocco had not even made it beyond the group stage at the Cup of Nations since losing the 2004 final to hosts Tunisia.
"I have already received some quite moving messages from people I know in Morocco, who maybe usually watch La Liga, Barcelona or Real Madrid.
"They are supporters of these teams but it is not the same thing. They are filled with pride just now," added Renard, who is bidding to become the first man to win the Cup of Nations three times with three different countries.
The Frenchman also led Zambia to glory in Gabon in 2012.
"To be able to have a great party when we return to Morocco would be magnificent. And I know what I am talking about," he added.
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 28 2017 4:35PM
Herve Renard can take a step closer to winning a third Africa Cup of Nations crown when he leads Morocco into a quarter-final against Egypt in Port-Gentil on Sunday.
The Frenchman's side eliminated the Ivory Coast, who he led to the title in 2015, to reach the knockout phase of a Nations Cup for the first time since 2004.
Also the architect of Zambia's unlikely triumph in 2012, Renard's aim now is to become the first coach to win the title three times with three different countries.
It would be another triumph against the odds, given the number of key players Morocco lost to injury before jetting off to Gabon, but they displayed their fighting qualities to make it out of their group.
"It is already a privilege to be in the last eight but now we need to be much more ambitious than that," Renard said.
"Sometimes the African Cup can be more difficult than this so when you are lucky enough to safely negotiate the group stage against very strong teams you need to seize the opportunity.
"It would be extraordinary if we could go a lot further.
"To be able to have a great party when we return to Morocco would be magnificent. And I know what I am talking about."
Morocco's north African rivals Egypt have been a difficult team to break down under coach Hector Cuper and progressed from their group without conceding a goal.
Hopes are now beginning to rise back home that the Pharaohs can mark their return to the competition after a seven-year absence by winning a record-extending eighth title.
"Our ambitions are very high and we are going to fight and give our best in order to keep progressing," said Cuper.
Egyptian Football Association Hazem El Hawary board member believes Cuper's methods have revived the team.
"Everybody can watch what he is doing. He teaches the players organisation, he has a system that does not change and the players are getting used to it," El Hawary said.
"That is why we keep improving. Everybody says now Egypt plays with a system. They are not playing haphazard. Our results in the last one year and a half are super."
Egypt's only win in five previous Nations Cup matches against Morocco came in a 1986 semi-final on home soil, but there are practical reasons for them to be confident as they eye a semi in Libreville next Wednesday.
Playing the game in Port-Gentil, where they have been based all along, means they have enjoyed a more relaxed build-up.
Morocco may have had an extra 24 hours to prepare, but they were delayed in leaving the northern town of Oyem on Thursday.
When they arrived in Port-Gentil, the Moroccan delegation found that the hotel originally set aside for them was not ready and so they were forced to come up with an alternative solution.
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 27 2017 4:52PM
Morocco legend and current assistant coach Mustapha Hadji has praised Hervé Renard’s influence on the team and it’s progress so far in the tournament.
The 45-years-old told Moroccan website Al Btola: ''We have a good manager, he does the basics very well in encouraging the players and lifting their spirits.
''He has restored their confidence again and we thank him for that. All the work we’ve done is paying off now and this is just the start.''
The former Aston Villa forward says the Atlas Lions have the upperhand against their quarter-final opponents.
''Since they’ve never beaten us, I think we have the upper hand and considering the loads of confidence we have at the moment, we will be getting a positive result out of this match,'' he added.
''We just have to keep tabs on our fitness levels because it’s not easy to lose the first match and then win the next two, it requires hard work that consumes you both physically and mentally.''
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 27 2017 4:50PM
(Morocco World News) Rabat – Ivorian international football Player, Yaya Toure has congratulated the Moroccan national team on qualifying for the second round of the African Cup of Nations (CAN2017).
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Touré revealed that the score was a foregone conclusion and that he knew Morocco would qualify for the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Touré paid tribute to the Moroccan players and French Coach, Hervé Renard, regarding him as a high-tech mentor.
Touré predicts that the Moroccan team will either face Senegal or the Democratic Republic of Congo in the final round, anticipating that these are the teams most anticipated to be the final game.
Touré posted a motivational message on his Facebook page accompanied by the Ivorian flag, asking the Ivorian players to stay strong.‘’
Let us remain strong and humble in the face of defeat. We must be able to get up and start again. Today’s failure must correct our mistakes for the upcoming competitions. This new generation will win one day…,’’ Said Touré.
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 27 2017 4:47PM
Kalusha Bwalya says Herve Renard has the ability to win the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco as he assesses the tournament so far.
Should Renard win the finals, it would be an unprecedented third title with his third different nation after the Frenchman won it with Ivory Coast in 2015 and with Zambia in 2012.
Zambia Football Association president Bwalya also told BBC Sport he thinks the competition in Gabon is full of good teams who are closely matched, as he looked ahead to the weekend's quarter-finals.
Renard's Morocco take on seven-time champions Egypt on Sunday.
The other last-eight matches are: Burkina Faso v Tunisia and Senegal v Cameroon - both games on Saturday - and DR Congo v Ghana on Sunday.
By The Atlas Lions, Jan 27 2017 1:24PM
(Reuters) Herve Renard already enjoys lofty status in African football after winning two of the last three African Nations Cups, but if he takes a third title next week he will write himself a special place in soccer history.
Victory with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast two years ago is an unique achievement and a third title with Morocco at the in Gabon would make him the first man to win a continental championship with three different countries.
Morocco take on Egypt in Port Gentil in the quarter-finals on Sunday after eliminating holders Ivory Coast in their last group game on Tuesday in a match that brought the 48-year-old much satisfaction.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment to prove what I can do,” he told reporters, aiming a dig at the Ivorian press who had declared him initially unfit to coach their team two years ago but then celebrated him when they won the 2015 Nations Cup.
"There are people who told me that I was unworthy to coach. Then three weeks later, the same people were dancing on the tables. You change your coat every time,” he added.
Not shy of confrontation, Renard is an angry presence as he patrols the touchline during games, barking orders and chastising players. But off the field he radiates charm as he tries to keep a lid on expectations.
“I think that when you win as we did against the Ivorians, you must always remain realistic,” he told reporters.
“The knockout stages are a new competition altogether where you need a winning mindset. There are better teams than us in this Cup, but we have a chance to prove ourselves when we are confronted with them,” Renard said.
Renard’s film star good looks, lucky white shirt and booming voice pick him out from the crowd of coaches at the tournament but it is the pace of his ascent to the top of the game that is most remarkable.
A lower league professional in France who ran an office cleaning business after retiring, he decided to become a coach and landed a chance to be Claude Le Roy’s assistant.
That was ahead of the tournament in Ghana in 2008. Less than a decade later he is the leading coach in African football and just three wins away from a legacy-making achievement.
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