• Press review: Adel Taarabt Blames Moroccan Media for Ruining His Sports Career

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – Moroccan international midfielder, Adel Taarabt, criticized Moroccan media on July 8, claiming it had negatively influenced his sporting career.

    During an interview with national sports TV channel Arryadia, the 28-year old footballer revealed he had not played for the Moroccan national football team for two years. “I miss the national team,” said Taarabt.

    He added that he has had a very hard time with his football clubs, including current French team, Benfica Lisbonne. However, the Moroccan was optimistic: “I am always here and I am always working to improve my skills.”

    “My hometown makes my happy”

    When asked about his native city, Taza, Taarabt said that the city is very important to him: “All my family members live in Taza. My mother and father’s family are there, [….] It has my roots; whenever I feel down, I go back to the city to visit my cousins and my family.”

    Taarabt emigrated to France with his family when he was only 11 years old. “People, especially Moroccans, do not know that I always felt pressure. People were always expecting me to be the future Zinedine Zidane (French former footballer), a pressure that was always difficult to manage.”

    While he knows he will not be able to forge a better career for himself, he does not regret what he has done so far. “I have already played for famous international teams, like Tottenham Hotspour, Queens Park Rangers,Benfica, which itself is an achievement.”

    Taarabt has also played for France’s national under-17 and 19 teams.

    During the televised interview, Taarabt mentioned the first time he was called to play for the Moroccan national team. “I asked my family, my mother and father, and they told me that it would be a pleasure for me and them if I accepted Morocco’s invitation, but emphasized it was my own career, telling me ‘you can do whatever you want’.”

    “I think before I speak”

    The footballer touched on past clashes between him and former coaches for the Moroccan national football team, including Moroccan Zaki Badou and Belgian Eric Gerets. “I have never done anything bad to them, I just was very honest. Whatever I felt like I wanted to say, I just said it without thinking of the consequences.”

    Taarabt made a number of mistakes while playing for the Moroccan team. On the eve of the national team’s match against Algeria during the 2012 African of Cup of Nations qualifiers, he decided to leave the training camp and

    consequently did not play the match.

    Taarabt has blamed Moroccan media for continuous rumors, which he claimed were untrue. “They keep publishing stories that I went partying here and there, which is not true.” He continued that the majority of articles published were in Morocco, “from unprofessional journalists.”

    “They were not aware that these rumors might affect my sporting career, and even my family.” The footballer added that his mother was always receiving calls from family, asking if there was any validity to the rumors that he had been fired from Benifica.

    A potential future representing Morocco?

    Earlier this year, Taarabt expressed his desire to rejoin the Moroccan national football team. “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 had been hoping to defend during the African Cup of Nations,” Taarabt said.

    The footballer’s wish may come true if he succeeds in developing his football techniques with Genoa FC. The Moroccan joined the Italian club in 2017, on loan from Benifica.


  • Abdelhak Nouri: Ajax midfielder 'out of danger' but remains in intensive care

    Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri is "out of danger" but remains in intensive care after collapsing during a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen.

    The incident, which happened during Saturday's game in Hippach, Austria, led to the match being abandoned.

    Ajax said Nouri, 20, had suffered "cardiac arrhythmias" - heart rhythm problems - during the game.

    An open training session by the 33-time Dutch champions planned for Monday has been cancelled.

    Nouri was part of the Ajax squad for the Europa League final against Manchester United in May.

    However, the Netherlands youth international played no part in the game, which United won 2-0.

    Nouri played 15 league and cup games for Ajax in 2016-17, scoring one goal in a Dutch Cup tie.

    Former Netherlands captain Ruud Gullit posted on social media: "#abdelhaknouri we pray for you."

    Ajax Cape Town, a feeder club for the Dutch side, also sent a message of support.

    "We would like to wish speedy recovery to Abdelhak Nouri from @AFCAjax who collapsed in a friendly game," it posted on Twitter.

    An Ajax statement, released on Sunday, said: "Should anything change in the situation of Nouri, Ajax will report through its official channels."


  • CAF CL: Achraf Bencharki goal sends Wydad into quarterfinals

    A goal from Achraf Bencharki sent Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca into the quarterfinals of the CAF Champions League after beating Zambia’s Zanaco 1-0 in a Group D match at the Complexe Mohammed V on Saturday night.

    The win catapulted Wydad to the top of the group standings with 12 points while the loss for Zanaco, combined with Al Ahly’s 3-1 win over Coton Sport (also on Saturday), sees them finish in third place as they exit the competition.

    The win for Al Ahly them finish second in the group with 11 points – the same as Zanaco but with a superior goal difference while Coton Sport are last with no points.

    The match itself at the Complexe Mohammed V offered very little in terms of goalmouth action in the opening half.

    Instead, the play was rather sloppy and both teams showed their frustration with some rough tackling.

    The second half produced more drama when Zanaco were reduced to ten men on the hour mark after Taonga Bwembya was giving his matching orders for a second yellow card.

    Eight minutes later Achraf Bencharki scored the decisive goal for Wydad to hand them the victory and a spot in the knockout stages of the CAF Champions League.

    Wydad will now play either Esperance or Mamelodi Sundowns (who are in action on Sunday) in the quarterfinals of the competition on the weekend of 8-10 September.


  • Transfers: Carcela-Gonzalez joins Olympiakos

    (Greece) Moroccan international midfielder Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez has signed a contract with Olympiakos, the Greek champions announced Friday.

    No details of the deal were given by the Piraeus club but local media reported that the contract is for three years.

    Carcela-Gonzalez, 28, has played 17 matches for the Moroccan national team, scoring one goal.

    On a club level he arrives from Spanish side Granada after stints with Portugal’s Benfica, Belgian club Standard Liege and Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia.

  • CAF: FUS move into Confed quarterfinals

    (Supersport.com) FUS Rabat have claimed a place in the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederation Cup after they defeated Rivers United 2-1 in their final Group A match on Friday night.

    The result in Morocco saw the hosts move level with Uganda’s KCCA (who were beaten heavily in a concurrent match by group winners Club Africain in Tunisia) on nine points, but FUS claim second place on a head-to-head tiebreaker.

    FUS dominated the first half and tested United goalkeeper Akande Asimiyu on several occasions, as well as hitting the crossbar on 42 minutes through Youssef El Gnaoui.

    Yet it was the Nigerians who claimed the lead just before halftime and very much against the run of play.

    FUS goalkeeper Aymane Majid made a major error in judgment by coming off his line to try and claim a cross, which ended with Rivers’ Bolaji Sakin steering the ball into an almost unguarded net to put his side 1-0 up.

    The Moroccans hit back early in the second half though El Gnaoui, who latched onto a ball across the face of goal and steered a low shot past Asimiyu to make it 1-1 in the 52nd minute.

    FUS continued their domination after drawing level and with a quarter hour to play they twice came close to adding to their tally, with Mohammed Fouzair denied by a wonderful save, before El Gnaoui saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Joseph Douhadji.

    The match looked destined to end in a stalemate, but with the end of regulation time looming the hosts were awarded a penalty when Festus Austin was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

    Fouzair took on the responsibility of the spot kick and coolly chipped the ball home in the 88th minute to seal a 2-1 win for FUS Rabat and a place in the quarterfinals.

    The Moroccans will face either MC Alger or CS Sfaxien in the last eight, with the final Group B standings to be decided on Saturday evening.

  • Press review: President of Moroccan Federation Says Haddadi Will Join National Team

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – Fouzi Lekjaa, president of the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) is holding out hope that Spanish-born Moroccan footballer, Munir El Haddadi, may still join the Moroccan National Football Team despite FIFA’s eligibility regulations.

    After solving the problem between Moroccan-Dutch footballer, Hakim Ziyech and Herve Renard, head coach, Lekjaa, who is also a member of the African Football Confederation’s (CAF) executive board, is ambitious to make Munir’s dream come true.

    Recently, Munir has shown an interest in representing Morocco rather than the Spanish national football club.

    And yet, FIFA’s eligibility regulations could make Munir’s dream difficult to reach. Footballers may only change their national team if they have not appeared on the senior team in an actual competitive game. Munir, however, made a 15-minute appearance in a match between Spain and Macedonia in 2014.

    Desperate to make the youngster a part of the Moroccan team, Lekjaa said that “Munir El Haddadi will be one of the Atlas Lions, but we have to wait for the FIFA’s final say.”

    On June 23, a spokesman for FIFA refuted rumors on sports media platforms indicating that Munir El Haddadi had been approved by FIFA to suit up for the Moroccan National Football Team.

    The forward is currently playing for F.C Valencia as a striker. Valencia signed the dual nationality footballer from Barcelona for a season-long loan in 2016. He has also represented the Spanish national team, as well as the Spanish national under-19 football team and Spanish national under-21 football team.

    Whether or not El Haddadi does manage to represent Morocco’s national football team is something that only time will tell.

  • #CAFCL: Wydad Casablanca beat Coton Sport in Cameroon

    Wydad Casablanca inched closer to the 2017 African Champions League quarter finals with a convincing 2-0 win over Coton Sport at Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua Saturday.

    Achraf Bencharki netted the opener in the 43rd minute with Naim Aarab doubling the lead in the 72nd minute to seal the game.

    With the three points, the Moroccans move second in group D standings on nine points.

    Zanaco who were held to a barren draw by visiting Al Ahly in Lusaka, Zambia top the group on 11 points.

    The win was Wydad’s second on the bounce after beating Al Ahly of Egypt 2-0 in week four.

    The last matches of the group next week will see Wydad host Zanaco with Coton, who are winless in the group, traveling to Egypt to face record champions Al Ahly.


  • NT: Hakim Ziyech back with the Atlas Lions!

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Ajax forward Hakim Ziyech is back with the Atlas Lions after he had a meeting with Morocco coach Herve Renard and Morocco FA president Fouzi Lekjaa in Amsterdam on Friday.

    The problem between Ziyech and coach Renard has been resolved and Ziyech will make his comeback on the pitch for Morocco as they face Mali for the WC2018 qualifiers in September.


  • Transfers: Galatasaray sign former Montpellier star Younes Belhanda from Dynamo Kiev

    Galatasaray have signed attacking midfielder Younes Belhanda from Dynamo Kiev for €8m (£7m) with add-ons.

    The 27-year-old French-Moroccan will put pen to paper officially on 6 July in a deal expected to provide added creativity to a Galatasaray side over-reliant on Wesley Sneijder to unlock teams from the middle of the park.

    Read more at http://www.squawka.com/news/galatasaray-sign-former-montpellier-star-younes-belhanda-from-dynamo-kiev/965071#t0Qprxqz5wPyKrwt.99

  • Transfers: Sofyan Amrabat joins Feyenoord

    (Feyenoord.nl) Feyenoord has added Sofyan Amrabat to the first-team squad after agreeing terms with FC Utrecht on the midfielder’s immediate transfer to De Kuip. The 20-year-old is the club’s second signing of the summer.

    Amrabat passed a medical on Friday morning before putting his signature to a four-year contract in the afternoon. He will wear the number 21 shirt at Feyenoord.

    Amrabat made his debut at FC Utrecht in 2014-2015 after passing through much of the youth academy there. Last season he made 34 appearances for the club, scoring one goal.

    Technical director Martin van Geel is delighted to have attracted Amrabat to Feyenoord. ‘Sofyan is a very talented player, with great physical qualities alongside his footballing ones. That among other things is why we feel he is a player who fits Feyenoord. We are certain that he adds to our squad and that he can improve hugely in the future.’


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