• CAF Award: Khalid Boutaib and Karim El Ahmadi named in provisional 30-man list for 2017 African Player of the Year Award

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Feyenoord captain Karim El Ahmadi and Yeni Malatyaspor striker Khalid Boutaib have been named in a provisional 30-man list for the 2017 African Player of the Year Award.

    The winner will be decided by votes from the Head Coaches/Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF, members of the CAF Technical and Development Committee and a panel of Media Experts.

    The Awards Gala will be held on Thursday, 4 January 2018 in Accra, Ghana.

    African Player of the Year

    1. Ali Maaloul (Tunisia & Al Ahly)

    2. Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso & Lyon)

    3. Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo & Villareal)

    4. Christian Atsu (Ghana & Newcastle)

    5. Christian Bassogog (Cameroon & Henan Jianye)

    6. Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)

    7. Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester United)

    8. Essam El Hadary (Egypt & Al Taawoun)

    9. Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon & Sevilla)

    10. Fackson Kapumbu (Zambia & Zesco)

    11. Jean Michel Seri (Cote d’Ivoire & Nice)

    12. Junior Kabananga (DR Congo & Astana)

    13. Karim El Ahmadi (Morocco & Feyenoord)

    14. Keita Balde (Senegal & Monaco)

    15. Khalid Boutaib (Morocco & Yeni Malatyaspor)

    16. Mbwana Samata (Tanzania & Genk)

    17. Michael Olunga (Kenya & Girona)

    18. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)

    19. Moussa Marega (Mali & Porto)

    20. Naby Keita (Guinea & RB Leipzig)

    21. Percy Tau (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)

    22. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Borussia Dortmund)

    23. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)

    24. Thomas Partey (Ghana & Atletico Madrid)

    25. Victor Moses (Nigeria & Chelsea)

    26. Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon & Porto)

    27. William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria & Bursaspor)

    28. Yacine Brahimi (Algeria & Porto)

    29. Youssef Msakni (Tunisia & Al Duhail)

    30. Yves Bissouma (Mali & Lille)

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  • CAF CL: Maaloul, Ashour excluded as Al Ahly announce squad for African finalby Salma Abdallah November 1, 2017 Ahly training session ahead of Eseprance Sportive de Tunisa quarter-final clashAl Ahly manager Hossam El-Badry has announced a 22-man squad for

    (www.kingfut.com) Al Ahly manager Hossam El-Badry has announced a 22-man squad for the second leg of the CAF Champions League final against Wydad Casablanca.

    The Cairo giants, who were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Cairo, will travel to Morocco for the decisive second leg on Saturday.

    Al Ahly will miss the services of Tunisia’s Ali Maaloul as he was excluded due to an injury he picked up in the first leg. They’ll have to do without veteran midfielder Hossam Ashour, who also missed the first leg due to a muscle injury.

    Saleh Gomaa will also miss out through injury.

    The Squad:

    Goalkeepers: Sherif Ekramy, Ahmed Adel Abdel-Moneim, Mohamed El-Shennawy.

    Defenders: Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Hani, Rami Rabia, Mohamed Naguib, Saad Samir, Sabry Raheel, Hussein El-Sayed.

    Midfielders: Amr El-Sulaya, Abdallah El-Said, Hesham Mohamed, Walid Soliman, Momen Zakaria, Ahmed El-Sheikh, Ahmed Hamoudi, Karim Nedved, Mido Gaber.

    Forwards: Walid Azaro, Junior Ajayi, Emad Meteb.

    A victory or a 2-2 draw would secure Al Ahly their ninth title, while a goalless draw would earn Wydad their second in history.

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  • ًWC 2018 Qualifiers: Renard unveils selection vs Cote d'Ivoire

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco coach Herve Renard has unveiled his squad for the upcoming make or break tie against Ivory Coast on November 11. #CIVMAR

    Here is the squad list:

    Keepers:

    Munir EL KAJOUI

    Yassine BOUNOU

    Ahmed Reda TAGNAOUTI

    Defenders:

    Medhi BENATIA

    Jawad EL YAMIQ

    Romain SAISS

    Badr BANOUN

    Nabil DIRAR

    Achraf HAKIMI

    Fouad CHAFIK

    Oualid EL-HAJJAM

    Hamza MENDYL

    Midfielders:

    Karim EL AHMADI

    Sofyan AMRABAT

    Mbark BOUSSOUFA

    Faycal FAJR

    Hakim ZIYECH

    Younès BELHANDA

    Amine HARIT

    Nordin AMRABAT

    Sofiane BOUFAL

    Ismail EL HADDAD

    Attackers:

    Khalid BOUTAIB

    Rachid ALIOUI

    Mimoun MAHI

    Achraf BENCHARKI.

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  • CAF CL: Advantage Wydad ahead of showdown

    Wydad Casablanca hold all the aces heading into the second leg of the CAF Champions League final against Al Ahly on Saturday night.

    The match will be staged at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca, Morocco, with kick-off at 10pm CAT.

    The first leg in Alexandria last weekend ended 1-1, with Ahly’s early goal from Moamen Zakaria cancelled out within the opening 20 minutes by a superb strike from Wydad’s Achraf Bencharki.

    The aggregate score of 1-1 very much favours the Moroccan side, who have home advantage for the decisive leg and need only keep a clean sheet to ensure they pick up their second Champions League title.

    The Egyptian giants, meanwhile, must at least match Wydad’s away goal if they are to have a shot at winning a record-extending ninth African crown.

    Wydad coach Hussein Amotta will be without the services of injured winger Mohamed Ounajem, but was delighted with the first-leg result and believes his side is capable of triumphing on home soil.

    “We achieved a milestone leaving Alexandria with a draw under these circumstances,” said Amotta after the match at the Borg El Arab Stadium.

    “With all these fans, and against one of Africa’s finest most experienced clubs, a draw was a great result.”

    He added, “It [the return leg] won’t be an easy game, but we will be more relaxed and we will have to work on scoring first this Saturday.

    “Al Ahly have one of the best front lines in Africa, so it would be illogical to sit back and defend against them.

    “Now that we know the flaws in Al Ahly’s defence, we will put pressure on them from the start. Yet at the same time we need to leave them no space for counter-attacks at the back.

    “It is a great pleasure for me to coach Wydad and lead them up to this stage, but I cannot wait till Saturday when I become the happiest man in Morocco and all of Africa.”

    Al Ahly have their own injury absentee in the shape of captain Hossam Ashour, and coach Hossam El Badry is under pressure to turn the tie around in Casablanca.

    “I knew it [the first leg] was going to be a tough match, and we didn’t exploit the chances that we had during the game. We weren’t lucky [in the match] too,” the Al Ahly coach explained.

    He added, “However, we put in an overall strong performance and I believe in the players’ abilities. We’ll fight to achieve victory in the second leg to claim the title.”

    Gambian referee Bakary Gassama will take charge of the match in Casablanca on Saturday night. The winners will qualify for both the 2017 Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in December, and the 2018 CAF Super Cup against the winners of the Confederation Cup final

    https://www.supersport.com/football/caf-champions-league/news/171031/Advantage_Wydad_ahead_of_Casablanca_showdown

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  • CAF CL: Champions League: Wydad coach Hussein Amotta wants to put pressure on Al Ahly defence

    After playing to a 1-1 draw against Al Ahly in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final on Saturday, Wydad Casablanca coach Hussein Amotta expects a tough second leg clash against the Red Devils.

    Amotta said he is planning to turn the tables by putting all the pressure on the Egyptian giants in the return fixture this weekend.

    “We achieved a milestone leaving Alexandria with a draw under these circumstances,” said Amotta.

    “With all these fans, and against one of Africa’s finest most experienced clubs, a draw was a great result.

    “It won’t be an easy game, but we will be more relaxed and we will have to work on scoring first this Saturday.

    “Al Ahly have one of the best front lines in Africa, so it would be illogical to sit back and defend against them.

    “Now that we know the flaws in Al Ahly’s defence, we will put pressure on them from the start. Yet at the same time we need to leave them no space for counter-attacks at the back.”

    The return leg will be staged on Saturday, November 4 at Complexe Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca.

    http://africanfootball.com//news/733350/Champions-League-Wydad-coach-Hussein-Amotta-wants-to-put-pressure-on-Al-Ahly-defence

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  • UCL: Benatia out against Sporting through injury

    By Football Italia staff

    Juventus have named Mattia De Sciglio in their squad to face Sporting CP on Tuesday, but there is still no Medhi Benatia.

    De Sciglio is the only recognised right-back in Juve’s squad, with Stephan Lichtsteiner ineligible for the Champions League.

    However, it remains to be seen whether he is fit enough to appear in Lisbon after staying on the substitutes’ bench for the Bianconeri’s last two games.

    Benatia, meanwhile, remains sidelined with an ankle problem as the Old Lady can all-but-secure a top-two place in Group D with victory over Sporting.

    Juve squad for Sporting: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Szczesny; De Sciglio, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Barzagli, Rugani; Pjanic, Khedira, Marchisio, Matuidi, Asamoah, Sturaro, Bentancur; Cuadrado, Higuain, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Mandzukic, Bernardeschi

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  • NT: Morocco to play Argentina in friendly on March 17th 2018?

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  • World Cup 2018 qualifiers: Morocco to receive 8,000 tickets for Ivory Coast World Cup showdown

    Morocco are set to receive 8,000 tickets for their 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Ivory Coast on November 11.

    The Ivorian federation has released the tickets for the match at the Stade Felix Houphouet Boigny to their Moroccan counterparts, FRMF.

    Travelling Atlas Lions fans will be distributed with the tickets ahead of their trip to Abidjan next month.

    The FRMF also has a plan in place alongside the government and Royal Air Morocco to provide transportation to and from Abidjan for the North Africans fans.

    The clash will be decisive in Group C: Ivory Coast need to win the match to secure a fourth successive World Cup qualification, while Morocco must avoid defeat to make their return to the tournament for the first time since 1998.

    Coaches Marc Wilomts and Herve Renard are set to release their respective squad lists for the match within the next day or two.

    http://africanfootball.com//news/733319/Morocco-to-receive-8000-tickets-for-Ivory-Coast-World-Cup-showdown

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  • CAF CL: Wydad Casablanca's captain Ibrahim Nakach says they will frustrate Al Ahly

    (Africanfootball.com) Wydad Casablanca's captain Ibrahim Nakach says they will continue to cause all sorts of headaches for Al Ahly ahead of the second leg of their CAF Champions League final.

    The two North African sides will meet on Saturday in Casablanca to determine this year's continental winner following a 1-1 draw last weekend.

    Nakach said they are training to block the frontline of the Cairo giants in the second leg next Saturday and secure the title.

    Ahly failed to take a first-leg home advantage despite their territorial dominance, losing the lead to settle for a 1-1 draw this past Saturday.

    "We know Ahly will arrive in Morocco to score, but we are able to handle our home game," Nakach said.

    "We will train well to block Ahly's efforts to score, and we will score to secure the title. We studied Ahly's tactics well and we managed to stop their wingers from reaching our goal.

    "We will repeat what we achieved here in Egypt when we play the second leg in Morocco."

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  • 2026 World Cup bid: Ahmad backs Morocco, Montagliani backs Gulati

    October 30 – The president of the African Football Confederation Ahmad Ahmad has queried CONCACAF’s unity for the region’s 2026 World Cup bid. CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani downplayed the United States’ elimination from the 2018 World Cup as a destabilising factor for his confederation’s bid. Last August Morocco joined the race to land the first 48-team tournament.

    Ahmad said that it is his obligation as the CAF president to back his continent’s bid, but rather than discussing Africa’s unity or potential division over the Moroccan bid, Ahmad questioned if CONCACAF will be united behind its bid, which is largely perceived as an American venture, with Mexico and Canada as sidekicks in a two-pronged support cast.

    “It is a difficult question,” said Ahmad. ‘Will CONCACAF be united behind its bid? It depends on the presentation of the bids. There is also a sporting point: will the Europeans prioritise football’s interest? These are all arguments that come into play in people’s choices.”

    South Africa trumped Morocco’s bid for the 2010 World Cup and ultimately staged a successful first World Cup on African soil. By 2026, 48 teams will participate in the quadrennial showpiece of the international game, requiring much larger facilities and operational capacity from potential hosts. That shouldn’t be an impediment for Morocco to stage the World Cup, according to the CAF president.

    “They bid for the 2010 World Cup, but they said that they’d build their infrastructure even if they didn’t get the World Cup,” explained Ahmad. “They have continued [to build].”

    Ahmad’s observations comes at an interesting time, with the United States, the key driver behind CONCACAF’s bid, in turmoil following their disastrous elimination from the 2018 World Cup. US Soccer president Sunil Gulati has come under severe pressure to resign after the debacle, but the FIFA Council member (and formerly on FIFA’s executive committee since 2013) is standing his ground. Montagliani, Ahmad’s counterpart in North and Central America, doesn’t see the American crisis spilling over to the bid.

    “It has nothing to do with the bid,” Montagliani told Insideworldfootball. “It’s a sign of how football has grown in the United States. Before Sunil [Gulati] was president, no one would have cared, but football has grown so much that it is a sign how strong people feel about the World Cup. Our bid is our bid. The World Cup is in 2026. That is a long time away.”

    “Sunil is the chairman of the bid,” said the CONCACAF president. “That is not going to change.”

    On the eve of the 2018 World Cup FIFA will decide who gets to hosts the 2026 edition of the tournament. The CONCACAF bid is considered the favourite to land the hosting rights, with Morocco an outsider.

    “Morocco is a footballing nation and it’s going to be a strong bid,” said Montagliani diplomatically. “Competition is always good, it brings out the best of people. We are confident of our bid and we will keep working hard, hitting all the milestones we need to hit.”

    http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2017/10/30/2026-world-cup-bid-ahmad-backs-morocco-montagliani-backs-gulati/

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