• Total CHAN 2018: Pots for final draw revealed

    (CAFonline.com) At its meeting on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, in Rabat, Morocco, the Organising Committee for the Total African Nations Championship Morocco 2018 approved the procedure for the draw of the final tournament scheduled for Friday, 17 November 2017 at Sofitel Rabat.

    The four Pots consisting of the 16 qualified teams were decided on the basis of a ranking established taking into account the performances at the past editions of the final tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.

    Pot 1: Morocco (host), Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya

    Pot 2: Cameroon, Guinea, Nigeria, Zambia

    Pot 3: Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan

    Pot 4: Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Namibia

    The Organising Committee also approved the calendar for the final tournament which will run from 13 January to 4 February 2018 in the following cities: Casablanca (Group A), Marrakech (Group B), Tangier (Group C) and Agadir (Group D).

    The opening match and the final will be played at the newly refurbished Mohamed V Complex in Casablanca, which also hosted the second leg final of the Total CAF Champions League 2017.

  • CHAN NT: Morocco lose 2-1 to Gambia in friendly

    (Xinhua) -- Morocco were handed a wake-up called ahead of the 2018 African Nations Championship after succumbing to a 2-1 friendly loss to Gambia.

    Morocco will host from January 12-February 4 the African tournament, which features domestic players in the continent.

    In Marrakech Grand Stadium, Momodou Ceesay scored twice for Gambia in 11th and 38th minutes, while the sole goal of the Moroccan squad was scored by Ahmed Hamoudane in the 45th minute.

    In their build-up for the 2018 African Nations Championship, the Moroccan team defeated Mauritania 4-2 on Friday.

    For the Gambians, the match was part of their preparations for their crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria in March 2018. Enditem

  • WC 2018: Hervé Renard would like to see Morocco face France at the World Cup

    Hervé Renard, the current manager of the Atlas Lions, would like to see Morocco face France in the World Cup.

    «I came to Morocco get the team qualified for the World Cup (...) By signing in for Morocco, I measured the ups and downs. I think that almost two years ago, we were very far from this level,» said Hervé Renard last night at a press conference held after the victory of Morocco against Côte d'Ivoire (2-0 ).

    «Personally, I would like to face France, you can imagine. When you are of a nationality, it will be a great honor for me to be in the same group as the France team,» he added.

    For the record, 32 nations were qualified for the FIFA World Cup according to their FIFA rankings in October, had announced last September the International Federation, relayed by AFP.

    ...More : https://en.yabiladi.com/articles/details/59302/herve-renard-would-like-morocco.html

  • Press review: Long-term absentees make triumphant returns

    (FIFA.com) THE DAY REPLAYED - A tense final day of the African qualifying competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ ended with Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia joining Egypt and Nigeria as the continent’s five qualifiers.

    While the last two world finals saw the same quintet of Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria represent Africa on both occasions, Russia 2018 will welcome back some long-term absentees. Egypt last appeared on the Word Cup stage at Italy 1990, Morocco at France 1998, Senegal at Korea/Japan 2002 and Tunisia at Germany 2006.

    The big match

    Côte d’Ivoire 0-2 Morocco

    There was a white-hot atmosphere at the Stade Felix Houphouet Boigny in Abidjan, where a capacity crowd turned up in hope of seeing the Elephants record the win they needed to book a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance. Coached by Herve Renard, the man who steered Côte d’Ivoire to the CAF Africa Cup of Nations title in 2015, the Lions of the Atlas were far from overawed, however.

    Though the Moroccans needed only a draw to progress, they managed even better than that. After soaking up some early pressure from an Ivorian side inspired by the hard-running Gervinho, the visitors took the lead on 25 minutes, when Nabil Dirar’s curling cross caught out Sylvain Gbohouo in the home goal and crept in at the far post. Five minutes later, the hosts found themselves 2-0 down when Mehdi Benatia drove the ball home from a corner. The north Africans then defended their lead stoutly to secure top spot in the group and a place in Russia.

    What they said

    “We didn’t have any intention of coming and putting 11 men behind the ball. The players were outstanding. They fought from start to finish and contested every ball, which says a lot for them when you look at the Côte d’Ivoire line-up. They stuck together and that made the difference.”

    Morocco coach Herve Renard

  • NT: FAR FROM HOME There’s something rather odd about the starting XI who helped Morocco qualify

    FAR FROM HOME There’s something rather odd about the starting XI who helped Morocco qualify for their first World Cup in 20 years

    Just one of the starters against the Ivory Coast was actually born in Morocco

    Congratulations are in order!

    Morocco beat Ivory Coast 2-0 last night to ensure World Cup qualification for the first time in 20 years.

    First half goals from Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia sparked delirious scenes for the visiting fans in Abidjan.

    Morocco needed just a point to finish top of Group C in the African preliminaries and ensure their first appearance at the world’s premier competition for the first time since France 1998.

    Although, there was something rather peculiar about their starting line-up…

    Ten of the starting eleven were born outside of Morocco.

    Mbark Boussoufa, Karim El Ahmadi, Hakim Ziyech and Nordin Amrabat were all born in the Netherlands.

    Medhi Benatia, Romain Saiss, Younes Belhanda and Khalid Boutaib were all born in France.

    While Munir and Achraf Hakimi were born in Spain.

    Only Nabil Dirar was born in Morocco and he moved to Belgium in his early teenage years.

    Given that Morocco have qualified for the World Cup you’d have to say the players were justified in choosing their ancestral country rather than their countries of birth.

    Hakim Ziyech will be particularly pleased.

    The Ajax midfielder played for Netherlands Under-19s, Under-20s and Under-21s before declaring for Morocco in 2015 when he was in consideration for the Dutch senior side.

    In 2016, Marco van Basten said: “How stupid can you be to choose Morocco if you are in contention for the Dutch national team?”

    They’ve come from all parts but all are proud Moroccans at heart

    Well Marco, Morocco have qualfied for the World Cup and the Netherlands haven’t.

    Not such a stupid decision now, is it?


  • WC 2018: The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place on 1 December 2017

    (TheAtlasLions.com) The draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place on 1 December 2017 at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia.

    Morocco are in Pot 4 together with Japan, South Korea, Panama and Saudi Arabia

    World Cup draw procedure

    The 32 qualified finalists will be drawn into eight groups of four, which will be labelled from A to H. Seeding Pots 1 to 4 will be completely emptied by allocating each of their eight teams to a different group.

    FIFA confirmed in September that the principle of keeping teams from the same confederation apart would be retained. So, for example, Brazil, who are in Pot 1, cannot be paired with Colombia, who are also part of CONMEBOL (the South American confederation).

    An exception applies to UEFA teams, with FIFA ruling that up to two teams from the European confederation can be drawn in the same group.


  • Russia 2018: Morocco goes to Russia with an outstanding record!

    (TheAtlasLions.com) The Atlas Lions go to Russia with an unbeaten record, three wins, three draws, scoring 11 goals and no goals conceded!

  • NT: Morocco stun Ivory Coast to join Tunisia in qualifying for World Cup

    (ESPNFC) Morocco stunned Ivory Coast 2-0 to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, while Tunisia also booked their ticket to Russia on Saturday.

    Marc Wilmots' Ivory Coast needed a win at home to qualify for their fourth consecutive World Cup, but two errors by goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo put chances of victory out of reach in the first half.

    Nabil Dirar scored the opener in the 25th minute with an inswinging cross that went untouched through the box and entered the net. Gbohouo was frozen while expecting Morocco's Khalid Boutaïb to get a touch to the ball, but when he didn't it still crept in at the far post.

    And five minutes later Gbohouo was at fault again as he started to come for Mbark Boussoufa's corner into the box but then backtracked, allowing Medhi Benatia to volley home and double the lead.

    Serge Aurier had the best chance to score for Ivory Coast in the second half, but he skied his shot over the bar, and Morocco maintained their record of not conceding a single goal in the six games in CAF qualifying Group C.

    Morocco return to the world's biggest stage for the first time since 1998.

    Meanwhile, Tunisia's goalless draw against Libya proved enough to seal their World Cup spot from Group A.

    Tunisia will participate in their fifth World Cup, but first since qualifying four three consecutive tournaments from 1998-2006.

    DR Congo were the only team still with a chance to catch Tunisia, but they fell short despite a late 3-1 win over Guinea.

    Guinea's Ousmane Sidibe headed into his own net while defending a set piece after the hour mark, but the visitors were able to equalise 10 mintes later when Keita Karamokoba pounced on a loose ball and flicked it over DR Congo goalkeeper Ley Matampi.

    Two goals in stoppage time -- a Jonathan Bolingi penalty and a fine Neeskens Kebano strike -- gave DR Congo the victory, but it proved not to matter as Tunisia held on for the draw in the other game to win the group by a single point.

    Morocco and Tunisia will join Nigeria, Egypt and Senegal as the African sides in Russia next summer.

  • CIV 0-2 MOR - final score - Morocco go to Russia 2018!!!!!

    CIV 0-2 MOR - final score - Morocco go to Russia 2018!!!!!

    90' Faycal Fajr replaced Belhanda

    3 additional minutes

    82' Soufyan Amrabat makes his official debut for Morocco as he replaced Hakim Ziyech

    74' Achraf Bencherki replaced Khalid Boutaib

    See recording of first half: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_x6BBL5ib4

    Second half underway!

    Half Time!

    30' Benatia scores the 0-2 for Morocco from close range!

    See goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhqYK905lTU

    25' Great goal from distance by Nabil Dirar

    See goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN_Ozl7OdGc

    Match is underway!

    Location: Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan (CIV)

    11 Nov 2017-17h30 GMT, 18h30 CET

    Round 3 - Group C

    Competition: WC 2018 Qualifiers


    Referee: Bakary GASSAMA

    Assistant Referee 1: Jean-Claude BIRUMUSHAHU

    Assistant Referee 2: Marwa RANGE

    Fourth official: Bakary CAMARA

    Morocco starting line up:

    12-Monir EL KAJOUI (GK)- 2 Achraf HAKIMI- 5 Medhi BENATIA (C)- 6 Romain SAISS- 7 Hakim ZIYACH- 8 Karim EL AHMADI- 10 Younes BELHANDA - 13 Khalid BOUTAÏB- 14 Mbark BOUSSOUFA - 16 Noureddine AMRABAT - 17 Nabil DIRAR

    Live Streaming Video:



  • NT: Atlas Lions ready to roar: Morocco face tough task against the Ivory Coast to make it to Russia

    DUBAI: Morocco assistant manager Mustapha Hadji insists World Cup qualification will mean just as much to the Atlas Lions’ foreign-born stars as it will to the players and fans based in the country.

    Herve Renard’s side are just one game away from reaching a first World Cup since France ‘98; a draw against the Ivory Coast in Abidjan today will be enough to book a spot at next year’s finals in Russia. However, defeat will mean it is their opponents who will make it to the showpiece.

    Renard has transformed the North Africans’ fortunes since taking the reins in February last year with the turnaround in no small part down to a legion of players with Moroccan heritage.

    Of the 26-man squad selected for the Ivory Coast game just seven were born in Morocco, with only five currently playing in the country. There are 10 players born in France included, plus six from the Netherlands, two from Spain and one from Canada.

    And though this raises some questions about diluting the identity of the side, assistant boss Hadji — himself a France Under-21 international before switching his allegiance to Morocco at senior level — believes the quality of the foreign-born players has been integral to the improvements on the pitch.

    “I was probably the first player (who grew up in France) to choose Morocco and it comes down to what is in your heart,” Hadji told The Guardian this week. “It’s not about money or anything else – you play for your own country and represent all your family. I’m really happy with the choice I made and to be able to help the current generation.

    “When you have players like them coming to play for their own country it makes a big difference. We have been able to mix together the best of the players from overseas and those who grew up in Morocco.”

    Two of those Moroccan-both players, Ismail Haddad and Achraf Bencharki (pictured), head into the decisive qualifier on the crest of a wave — having helped Wydad Casablanca end their 25-year wait for a CAF Champions League crown last week.

    Bencharki netted the winner against Egyptian giants Al-Ahly but is unlikely to start in Abidjan, with Khalid Boutaïb of Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor generally favored up front so far during this campaign.

    The trip to Ivory Coast represents the Atlas Lions’ biggest test yet under Renard. But there is plenty of reason for optimism. Morocco held The Elephants both home and away in 2014 World Cup qualifying and a repeat of the 1-1 draw in Abidjan four years ago would be enough to make the tournament this time.

    More recently, Renard beat his former employers 1-0 at the 2017 African Nations Cup in January, the victory ultimately leading to Morocco reaching the quarter-finals while Ivory Coast went home early.

    This time, though, the stakes are even higher. It is time for this talented group of players, with its patchwork of birthplaces, to put Moroccan football back on the world stage.



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