• Transfes: Labyad set to follow Ten Hag and sign for Ajax?

    (Football-Oranje.com) According to Voetbal International, Ajax are working to sign Zakaria Labyad from Utrecht this month.

    Labyad is expecting to leave Utrecht this month with the midfielder hoping for a move to one of Netherlands top three clubs. It now appears that he will be joining former Utrecht boss Erik Ten Hag in Amsterdam, with Ajax working on a deal to sign the Moroccan.

    According to VI, Ajax have made their interest known to Utrecht, and are working to complete the deal quickly in order to fend off other clubs.

    Labyad started his career with PSV Eindhoven before spells with Sporting Lisbon, Vitesse and Fulham. The 24-year-old moved to Utrecht in 2017 and rediscovered his best form under Ten Hag. In 42 appearances, Labyad has scored 13 goals and contributed 12 assists.

  • Transfers: AS Roma make Hakim Ziyech their main transfer target.


  • Transfers: Abdelhamid El Kaoutari is reported joining Wydad Casablanca according to Moroccan sources.

  • WC 2026: Morocco 2026 World Cup bid hires international consultants

    (AP) LONDON — The Morocco 2026 World Cup bid, which has presented scarce details with six months until the vote, has hired international strategy consultants.

    London-based VERO, which worked on Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid, says it will “shape the vision” of the expanded 48-team tournament in Morocco.

    Its only rival for the 2026 World Cup is a joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada which presented its first plans last April. Morocco announced its bid with a two-sentence statement in August, and is yet to provide details of host cities or stadiums.

    Morocco previously bid for the World Cup in 1998 and 2010, and the north African nation has been accused of bribery on both occasions by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of its investigation into FIFA corruption.

  • Moroccans Abroad: Mehdi Benatia crowned Maghreb Player of the Year 2017

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Congratulations to Medhi Benatia who is crowned Maghreb player of the year 2017 by france football!

    Hakim Ziyech claimed the third place behind Riyad Mahrez of Algeria.

    1. Mehdi Benatia (Juventus/Maroc)

    2. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester/Algérie)

    3. Hakim Ziyech (Ajax Amsterdam/Maroc)

    4. Faouzi Ghoulam (Naples/Algérie)

    5. Youssef Msakni (Lekhwyia/Tunisie)

    6. Ali Maaaloul (Al-Ahly/Tunisie)

    7. Wahbi Khazri (Rennes/Tunisie)

    8. Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahçe/Maroc)

    9. Sofiane Hanni (Anderlecht/Algérie)

  • WC 2026: Morocco appoint minister to chair 2026 World Cup bid committee

    RABAT, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- As part of the preparation for Morocco's bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the Moroccan king Mohammed VI has chosen Minister of Industry and Investment Hafid Elalamy to chair the country's bid committee, the official MAP news agency said on Wednesday.

    Elalamy's work consists in providing all the necessary support to the Moroccan Royal Football Federation (FRMF) and the specific division created within the FRMF, in accordance with FIFA guidelines and specifications, the same source pointed out.

    He will act as the government's interlocutor for FIFA and will, hence, be in charge of coordinating the action performed by the various departments concerned.

    Last August, Morocco submitted their application to host the 2026 World Cup to the world football governing body FIFA, positioning themselves as the sole challenger to the joint submission from Canada, Mexico and the United States.

    This is Morocco's fifth bid to host the World Cups, after their unsuccessful bids for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions of the tournament.

  • Morocco coach: We want a new feat for out football in 2018

    (Africanfootball.com) The coach of Morocco’s locally-based national team, Jamal Sellami, has declared a desire to gain yet more glory for the country’s football at the upcoming African Nations Championship (CHAN).

    The year 2017 was a great one for Moroccan football, with the senior nation team - led by coach Herve Renard - securing a return to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1998, while Wydad Casablanca won the CAF Champions Leagu

    Following CAF’s decision to hand Morocco hosting rights for the 2018 CHAN (after stripping Kenya of the duty), the locally-based Atlas Lions now have a chance to add to the country’s growing list of football achievements.

    "The year 2017 has witnessed the great awakening of Moroccan football and its return to the forefront of the continental and international scenes,” Sellami told MAP.

    "Far from putting pressure on the players, the qualification to the World Cup 2018 in Russia and the coronation of WAC in the Champions League is a motivation for players to apply to the maximum and to fill the list of exploits by a new coronation.”

    Morocco will open the tournament with their first Group A match against Mauritania on Saturday evening at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca.

  • Morocco: Wydad Casablanca sack coach Amotta

    (BBC Sport) Hussein Amotta has been sacked by African Champions League winners Wydad Casablanca after a poor first half of the season.

    Amotta, who also won the Moroccan league in 2017, was on the final shortlist for the Confederation of African Football's (Caf) Coach of the Year award.

    He lost out to Egypt's Argentine coach Hector Cuper, who lead the Pharaohs to the World Cup finals, last Friday. Nigeria's German boss Gernot Rohr was the other nominee.

    "After the bad results, the club's board held a meeting on Tuesday and decided to end the contract of head coach Hussein Amotta and his technical staff," a club statement read.

    In the defence of their Moroccan title, Wydad are 12th in the 16-team league - some 13 points behind leaders Hassania Agadir, who have played a game more.

    A 2-1 loss to Kawkab Marrakech on Monday was Wydad's second league loss in a row and their 6th in fourteen league games this season.

    "The board appreciates the work of the coach after he led the team to win the Moroccan championship, the African Champions League and a place at the Club World Cup," the statement continued.

    "We respect the coach but we are all working for Wydad and so that's why we took the decision to end Hussein Amotta's contract and we wish him all the best."

    Amotta was appointed as Wydad coach in January 2017 when he replaced Frenchman Sebestien Desabre, who took over at Egyptian club Ismaili before being named Uganda coach.

    Although Amotta missed out on the coach's award Wydad were named the Caf Club of the Year.

  • Report: Newcastle hope to sign Real Madrid's Achraf Hakimi on loan in January

    Newcastle United are hoping to sign the exciting young Real Madrid defender in January.

    Borja Mayoral of Real Madrid celebrates with Achraf Hakimi after scoring his team's 3rd goal during the Copa del Rey match between Numancia and Real Madrid at Nuevo Estadio Los Pajarito on...

    According to reports from the Sunday Express (printed edition; 07/01/2018 – page 39), Newcastle United are hoping to sign Achraf Hakimi on loan in January.

    The 19-year-old is an exciting young right-back for Real Madrid, and has been attracting interest from clubs like Sporting Lisbon and Real Betis.

    He is a highly talented young defender, and has already made six international appearances for his country, Morocco.

    Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United during the The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Newcastle United and Luton Town at St James' Park on January 6, 2018 in Newcastle upon...

    Hakimi spent a large part of his youth career at Madrid, and made his senior debut in October last year. At this moment, he is seen mainly as a backup to Dani Carvajal.

    The youngster played 90 minutes of both Real Madrid’s Champions League games against Tottenham this season, which shows he is highly rated by Zinedine Zidane.

    Real Madrid's Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi (L) and Real Madrid's Spanish midfieder Marcos Llorente head a ball during a training session in Madrid on December 30, 2017.

    Madrid want him to move out on loan and get more experience. Newcastle have an edge over other suitors, given Rafael Benitez’s strong connection with his former club.

    Benitez is desperate to bolster his squad in the January transfer window, and Hakimi would be a terrific loan signing for the club.


  • CHAN: Morocco’s CHAN history and 2018 tournament squad

    (Africanfootball.com) Ahead of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) which kicks off this coming weekend, we take a closer look at Morocco’s tournament history and squad for the 2018 edition.

    The North Africans will be appearing for the third time at the continental tournament, having made their debut in 2014 in South Africa.

    The Atlas Lions got as far the quarterfinals four years ago, topping Group B ahead of Zimbabwe, Uganda and Burkina Faso before losing a 4-3 thriller after extra time to Nigeria.

    The last tournament in Rwanda in 2016 saw Morocco exit in the first round, as they finished behind Ivory Coast and hosts Rwanda in Group A.

    This year they have been pooled in Group A alongside Guinea, Sudan and Mauritania.

    Morocco will open their campaign on January 13 in Casablanca when they face Mauritania. Four days later they take on Guinea, while their group stage campaign will be wrapped up on January 21 when they battle Sudan - both matches will also be in Casablanca.

    The current Morocco team is led by coach Jamal Sellami and features the following 23 players:

    Goalkeepers: Anas Zniti, Abdelali Mhamdi, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti.

    Defenders: Mohamed Nahiri, Hamza Semmoumi, Jawad Yamiq, Marouane Hadhoudhi, Badr Banoune, Nayef Aguerd, Abdeljalil Jbira, Zakaria Hachimi.

    Midfielders: Yahia Jabrane, Mehdi Berrahma, Salaheddine Saidi, Walid El Karti, Abdelilah Hafidi, Badre Boulehroud.

    Forwards: Ayoub Nanah, Ayoub Kaabi, Achraf Bencharki, Ismail Haddad, Ahmed Hamoudane, Zakaria Hadraf.


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