• AFWCQ 2018: Three battles which will decide Morocco v Mali

    (Africanfootball.com) AfricanFootball looks at three key battles which will decide the outcome of the 2018 World Cup qualifier between Morocco and Mali in Rabat on Friday night.

    Walid Azaro v Mahamadou N’Diaye

    Morocco have struggled for many years to find a striker who can burden the responsibility of leading their attack, and in youngster Walid Azaro they have a player who could be a star of the future. The 21-year-old Al Ahly forward will be eager to establish himself in the Atlas Lions side, but he faces a tough opponent in the shape of Mahamadou N’Diaye, an experienced centre-back who has been to three Africa Cup of Nations with the Eagles and is regarded as one of their current generation’s best defenders.

    Mbark Boussoufa v Yacouba Sylla

    Mbark Boussoufa is a hugely experienced attacking midfielder and Morocco coach Herve Renard will be expecting the 33-year-old to direct his team’s attack on Friday night. The man looking to stymie his efforts will be Mali’s captain Yacouba Sylla. The 26-year-old French-born player - who completed a move from Rennes to Panathinaikos this week - is tough in the tackle and covers plenty of ground. The midfield battle between these two players will be vital in determining the outcome of the match.

    Medhi Benatia v Kalifa Coulibaly

    Atlas Lions coach Renard scored a major coup by convincing defender Medhi Benatia to return to the national team. The Juventus centre-back will bring solidity, composure and experience to the heart of Morocco’s defence, providing them with the foundation to build the rest of the team on. Benatia’s direct opponent is likely to be Kalifa Coulibaly, a powerful striker who stands almost two metres tall and scored a goal in Mali’s 2-1 win over Gabon in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers just a few months back.

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  • World Cup qualifier: Morrocco,Mali clash in Rabat in search of first wins

    Morocco and Mali will both be looking for their first wins in Group C of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers when they meet at Stade Moulay Abdellah in Rabat on Friday night, kick-off at 10pm CAT.

    Morocco have played to two draws in their campaign thus far, holding Gabon 0-0 away before playing out a stalemate at home to group leaders Ivory Coast. The North Africans are second on the standing on two points, two behind the Elephants.

    Mali, meanwhile, are bottom of the standings on one point. They lost their opener 3-1 away to Ivory Coast and could only manage a goalless stalemate at home to Gabon in their second outing.

    The Eagles will be desperate to pick up a positive result against the Atlas Lions and keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time. Yet coach Alain Giresse is wary of the threat posed by Morocco.

    “[Morocco] is a good team, the players are experienced and have played for big clubs. They rely on a well-oiled collective and use a variable system,” the Mali coach told the press.

    The Frenchman added, “We have to get back on our feet, because the two matches that are waiting for Mali are very important.

    “We will take care not to make the same mistakes as the opening game against the Elephants.

    “We will have to be supportive and very disciplined tactically because in Bouaké we played with three or four youngsters and it was very difficult.”

    Giresse’s counterpart is compatriot Herve Renard, who has won a major battle in convincing experienced defender Mehdi Benatia to return to the national team set-up.

    Renard, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with both Zambia and Ivory Coast, has also recalled Hakim Ziyech, handed maiden call-ups to Mohamed Ounajem, Amine Khammass and Soufiane Alakouch, as well as leaving out big names like Zouhair Feddal and Sofiane Boufal.

    Morocco and Mali have not been regular combatants down the years, meeting in just 17 matches across all competitions according to Fifa’s statistics database.

    The Atlas Lions have the better record, but only just: they have seven victories compared to five for the Eagles, while five matches have been drawn. The North Africans have managed an impressive 25 goals in that sequence, while conceding just 12.

    The teams will be meeting in World Cup qualifiers for the first time. Their most recent match against each other was a friendly played at the Stade de Marrakech in Morocco on 6 March 2013. The Atlas Lions claimed a 2-1 win on home soil.

    Cameroonian referee Sidi Alioum will take charge of the match in Rabat. The return game will be played at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako on September 5.

    http://www.soka25east.com/world-cup-qualifier-morroccomali-clash-rabat-search-first-wins/

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  • WC2018 qualifiers: Morocco, Mali look for first Group C wins

    Morocco and Mali will both be looking for their first wins in Group C of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers when they meet at Stade Moulay Abdellah in Rabat on Friday night, kick-off at 10pm CAT.

    Morocco have played to two draws in their campaign thus far, holding Gabon 0-0 away before playing out a stalemate at home to group leaders Ivory Coast. The North Africans are second on the standing on two points, two behind the Elephants.

    Mali, meanwhile, are bottom of the standings on one point. They lost their opener 3-1 away to Ivory Coast and could only manage a goalless stalemate at home to Gabon in their second outing.

    The Eagles will be desperate to pick up a positive result against the Atlas Lions and keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time. Yet coach Alain Giresse is wary of the threat posed by Morocco.

    “[Morocco] is a good team, the players are experienced and have played for big clubs. They rely on a well-oiled collective and use a variable system,” the Mali coach told the press.

    The Frenchman added, “We have to get back on our feet, because the two matches that are waiting for Mali are very important.

    “We will take care not to make the same mistakes as the opening game against the Elephants.

    “We will have to be supportive and very disciplined tactically because in Bouaké we played with three or four youngsters and it was very difficult.”

    Giresse’s counterpart is compatriot Herve Renard, who has won a major battle in convincing experienced defender Mehdi Benatia to return to the national team set-up.

    Renard, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with both Zambia and Ivory Coast, has also recalled Hakim Ziyech, handed maiden call-ups to Mohamed Ounajem, Amine Khammass and Soufiane Alakouch, as well as leaving out big names like Zouhair Feddal and Sofiane Boufal.

    Morocco and Mali have not been regular combatants down the years, meeting in just 17 matches across all competitions according to Fifa’s statistics database.

    The Atlas Lions have the better record, but only just: they have seven victories compared to five for the Eagles, while five matches have been drawn. The North Africans have managed an impressive 25 goals in that sequence, while conceding just 12.

    The teams will be meeting in World Cup qualifiers for the first time. Their most recent match against each other was a friendly played at the Stade de Marrakech in Morocco on 6 March 2013. The Atlas Lions claimed a 2-1 win on home soil.

    Cameroonian referee Sidi Alioum will take charge of the match in Rabat. The return game will be played at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako on September 5.

    https://www.supersport.com/football/africa/news/170829/Morocco_Mali_look_for_first_Group_C_wins

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  • WC2018 qualifiers: Head-to-head focus: Morocco v Mali

    AfricanFootball looks at the head-to-head record between Morocco and Mali ahead of their 2018 World Cup qualifying clashes.

    These two teams have not been regular combatants down the years, meeting in just 17 matches across all competitions according to FIFA’s statistics database.

    The Atlas Lions have the better record, but only just: they have seven victories compared to five for the Eagles, while five matches have been drawn. The North Africans have managed an impressive 25 goals in that sequence, while conceding just 12.

    The teams will be meeting in World Cup qualifiers for the first time when they face off in their upcoming Group C matches: September 1 at the Stade Moulay Abdellah in Rabat and September 5 at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako.

    Their most recent match against each other was a friendly played at the Stade de Marrakech in Morocco on 6 March 2013. The Atlas Lions claimed a 2-1 win on home soil.

    Morocco v Mali - Overall record

    Matches played: 17

    Morocco wins: 7

    Mali wins: 5

    Draws: 5

    Morocco goals: 25

    Mali goals: 12

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  • Transfers: Omar El Kaddouri joins Greece side PAOK on a permanent deal from Empoli

    Transfers: Omar El Kaddouri joins Greece side PAOK on a permanent deal from Empoli

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  • WC 2018 qualifiers: Morocco squad list vs Mali

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco coach Herve Renard has selected 27 players for the WC2018 qualifier against Mali in Rabat on Sep 1st.

    Here's the squad list:

    1-Munir El Kajoui - Numancia

    2-Yassine Bounou - Girona

    3-Yassine El Kharroubi - WAC

    4-Marouane Da Costa -Başakşehir

    5-Medhi Benatia - Juventus

    6-Romain Saiss - Wolverhampton

    7-Amine Khammas - Racing Genk

    8-Sofiane Alakouch - Nimes

    9-Jawad Yamiq - RCA

    10-Achraf Hakimi - Real Madrid

    11-Nabil Dirar - Fenerbahce

    12-Oussama Tannane - St Etienne

    13-Karim El Ahmadi - Feyenoord

    14-Youssef Ait Bennasser - Caen

    15-Youness Belhanda - Galatasaray

    16-Hakim Ziyech - Ajax

    17-Faycal Fajr - Getafe

    18-Mbark Boussoufa - Al-Jazira

    19-Nourdin Amrabat - Watford

    20-Mehdi Carcela - Olympiakos

    21-Mohamed Ounajem - WAC

    22-Mohamed Fouzair - Al-Nasr

    23-Aziz Bouhaddouz - St Pauli

    24-Mimoun Mahi - FC Groningen

    25-Rachid Alioui - Nimes

    26-Walid Azarou - Al-Ahly

    27-Khalid Boutaib - Malatyaspor.

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  • CHAN 2018: Morocco likely to takeover CHAN 2018 from Kenya

    Unconfirmed reports from Cairo strongly points to CHAN 2018 hosting rights being taken away from Kenya less than six months to the tournament.

    Kenya was handed the hosting rights in 2016 but have done little to show they will be ready to stage the continental showpiece.

    With a government full on rhetoric and minimal on delivery, most infrastructural work core to delivering a successful tournament specifically stadiums have staled.

    Multiple sources have confirmed Morocco and South Africa have been put on standby to slot in for Kenya in case the East Africans fail readiness test.

    CAF’s inspection mission is expected in the country in less than two week to assess the progress since their last visit.

    A bold step to re-award the tournament is highly expected based on the inspectors’ verdict.

    http://www.soka25east.com/morocco-likely-takeover-chan-2018-kenya/

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  • Moroccans Abroad: Achraf Hakimi Promoted to Real Madrid First Team

    Anything can change until August 31st, but it looks like Achraf Hakimi has earned a place in Zinedine Zidane’s first team squad. The official squad list was released by Real Madrid and the new #19 will be the young 18-year-old Moroccan. A gaping whole has been left in the squad since the departure of Danilo to Manchester City, but Zidane and his staff have decided to promote from within and give the former academy youngster a chance.

    Other contenders for the position included names like Odriozola, Thomas Meunier, or Madrid’s own Nacho, and academy product Alvaro Tejero. Achraf impressed enough in his Castilla season last year along with solid performances against the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, and the MLS All-stars in pre-season. Those who have been tracking the young Moroccans progress are quick to point out his change of pace, his ability to beat a man 1v1 and get a good cross in, as well as his anticipation and reading of the game at such a young age.

    He is still very raw at 18, but the step up will be made. Zidane is proving he trusts the academy and will use the academy to solve first-team problems. The question still lingers, will Achraf get significant minutes? Or if Carvajal is down, will Nacho and Theo be the first options to play at right back? Zidane has been vocal in the past that all members of his squad will get their chance and he has proven so with last year’s rotations. The Frenchman has also stressed the importance of playing and growing while at a young age. He will not want to stunt the growth of Achraf. The question for some skeptics may be, if an injury crisis hit the backline, what type of performances would come from the Moroccan in say a Champion’s League semi-final away at the Calderon? These are the types of questions Achraf may have the chance to answer this season. For fans, it is the first Cantera promoted since the likes of Jese, Casemiro, and Morata during Ancelotti’s debut season in 2013-2014. There is always something special about a player earning his way through the clubs youth system, hopefully Achraf will prove he is here to stay.

    https://www.managingmadrid.com/2017/8/19/16173056/achraf-hakimi-promoted-to-real-madrid-first-team

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  • CHAN 2018 qualifiers: Morocco qualify after beating Egypt 3-1

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco local national team qualified for the CHAN 2018 in Kenya as they beat Egypt 3-1 (agg 4-2) in Rabat on Friday.

    Morocco goals were scored by Jawad Yamiq, Abderrahim Moqran and Boulahroud from penalty spot.

    See all goals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKBK33Ks-Mo

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  • Transfers: Y. Ait Bennasser joins Caen on loan from Monaco

    Transfers: Y. Ait Bennasser joins Caen on loan from Monaco

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