• NT: Saudi Arabia Invites Morocco’s National Football Team to Perform Umrah

    By Morocco World News

    Rabat – Saudi Arabia has invited the Atlas Lions to perform the Umrah pilgrimage, in appreciation of their qualification over the weekend to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    The invitation has not yet been officially made, but it was announced by Turki Al-Cheikh, the sports advisor to the royal cabinet of Saudi Arabia, on his official Twitter account on November 13.

    Both the Atlas Lions and the Tunisian Carthage Eagles were invited to perform the religious pillar after booking their tickets to the World Cup in Russia next summer.

    “I am pleased to send an invitation to the Tunisian and Moroccan national teams to visit the kingdom and do Umrah, on the occasion of their qualification to the 2018 World Cup,” the royal advisor wrote.

    Morocco and Tunisia have won their tickets for the World Cup in Russia, alongside Egypt and Saudi Arabia, marking the first time that four Arab speaking countries have qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

    Morocco ended their 20-year wait for a World Cup place after defeating Cote d’Ivoire 2-0 on Saturday to lead Group C with 12 points from six games.

    On the same day, Tunisia settled for a 0-0 draw against Libya to make their first World Cup appearance since 2006.

  • NT: Munir El Haddadi makes formal request to play for Morocco

    The forward, who made one appearance for Spain at full international level, has asked the FRMF to support him in his bid to play for Morocco.

    Munir el Haddadi has contacted the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) to ask for their support in his petition to FIFA to allow him to play for Morocco, local daily Assabah reports today.

    The Moroccan daily affirmed that the Barcelona forward, who is currently on loan at Alavés, has also visited FIFA officials in person to appeal that they "defend the rights of binational players".

    Munir made his debut for Spain in 2014

    Born to Moroccan parents in San Lorenzo del Escorial just north of Madrid, Munir represented Spain at youth level and made just one, brief appearance at full international level - in Spain's first Euro 2016 qualifier, against Macedonia on 8 September 2014. He came on a substitute on 77 minutes, replacing Koke in the 5-1 win.

    He was hardly on the pitch for 13 minutes and he has never played for Spain since, but that short and sweet debut means that, under FIFA regulations, he now cannot be naturalised to be able to play for any other national team - despite his pleas to change his sport nationality. In declaration published by Assabah, Munir said that he doesn't understand why his 13-minute appearance for Spain should count so much for world football's governing body.

    Munir wants to go to World Cup Russia with Morocco

    Munir is keen to go to next year's World Cup finals with Morocco, who booked their ticket with a 0-2 win over Ivory Coast at the weekend.

    The FRMF have voiced their interest in incorporating Munir on many occasions and have repeatedly made requests to the RFEF in Madrid to relinquish the player's sporting passport. If he gets his wish and FIFA allow him to switch nationalities, Munir would have to fight for a place in the Morocco side with players suchs as Khalid Boutaïb (the team's top scorer in qualifying), the promising Achraf Bencharki and wingers Nordin Amrabat and Hakim Ziyech.

    So far this season, Munir has played nine matches with Alavés, eight of which in the starting line-up, and has scored one goal.



    (Goal.com) The north Africans have touched down in the Edo state capital ahead of Saturday's crucial qualifier against Christopher Danjuma's ladies

    Morocco U20 women landed in Benin City for the second round, the second leg of the U20 Women's World Cup qualifier against Nigeria on Saturday.

    The Moroccan delegation made up of 22 players and five officials arrived in Lagos on Wednesday morning and later connected to Benin City, venue of the match.

    The north Africans led 1-0 after a goal from Sedki Nouhaila, but the Falconets came back to secure a draw thanks to Rasheedat Ajibade at Stade Boubker Amar.

  • 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!


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