• Moroccans abroad: Achraf Hakimi included in Real Madrid U.S pre-season tour

    Moroccans abroad: Achraf Hakimi included in Real Madrid U.S pre-season tour.

    http://www.realmadrid.com/en/news/2017/07/the-26-players-who-will-travel-from-madrid-to-los-angeles

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  • Transfers: Zakaria El Azzouzi joins Excelsior Rotterdam on loan from Ajax for one season

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  • Transfers: Schalke sign Harit from Nantes

    Schalke have confirmed the signing of France Under-20 international Amine Harit on a four-year deal from Nantes.

    The Bundesliga club are reported to have paid €8million to bring Harit to the club, with the midfielder having previously been linked with Arsenal.

    Harit made 30 appearances and scored one goal in a breakthrough year at the Ligue 1 side last season, but departs following the appointment of Claudio Ranieri.

    And Harit believes Schalke is the right club to move to at this stage in his development, with 31-year-old Domenico Tedesco having taken charge ahead of the new campaign.

    "This move is a big step in my career," the 20-year-old said. "And I'm convinced I'll be able to develop into the player I want to become at this club.

    "I've known Schalke for a long time - Raul, the Champions League games, I followed it all, just like their games last season against Nice in the Europa League."

    Schalke confirmed their interest in Harit last month and Tedesco was delighted to welcome his latest recruit, who joins fellow new signing - defender Pablo Insua - at the Veltins-Arena.

    "Amine is a technically versatile player, who can dribble at pace and and applies himself well defensively," Tedesco said.

    "He's a player who attacks boldly and can therefore make the difference. We're happy to have been able to sign him."

    Read more at https://www.fourfourtwo.com/news/schalke-sign-harit-nantes#Ia406iPeSwckHk8P.99

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  • African Champions League: Wydad to Face Title-Holder in Quarter-Finals

    (Morocco World News) Following the draw for the African Champions League quarter-finals on Sunday night, the Mamelodi Sundowns will bethe next opponent of Wydad Casablanca.

    First in Group D, the Reds will have the advantage of welcoming the South Africans to the return match next September at the Mohammed V Complex in Casablanca.

    Wydad to Face Title-Holder in Quarter-Finals

    Wydad Casablanca gleaned theirticket to the quarter-finals after winning the last three matches, including defeating FC Zanaco on Saturday night with a goal from Bencherki at the68th minute. With this success, they have finished at the top of the group.

    “Without the foreign players, we managed to reach the quarterfinals,” said the coach Houcine Ammouta. “I thank the players, who have done a good game and have managed to express the spirit of this team.”

    Ammouta continued, “We have enough time to choose the best players who can help the team qualify for the final. We must work hard and give our best. If we lose it is not the end of the world. We are the champions of the botola and we [will participate] next year in the Champions League.”

    The quarter-finals will put the Egyptian club of Al Ahly against the hope of Tunis. The last two matches of this phase will oppose Al Ahly Tripoli to the Etoile Sportif du Sahel and the USMA to Ferroviario.

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  • Press review: Adel Taarabt Blames Moroccan Media for Ruining His Sports Career

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – Moroccan international midfielder, Adel Taarabt, criticized Moroccan media on July 8, claiming it had negatively influenced his sporting career.

    During an interview with national sports TV channel Arryadia, the 28-year old footballer revealed he had not played for the Moroccan national football team for two years. “I miss the national team,” said Taarabt.

    He added that he has had a very hard time with his football clubs, including current French team, Benfica Lisbonne. However, the Moroccan was optimistic: “I am always here and I am always working to improve my skills.”

    “My hometown makes my happy”

    When asked about his native city, Taza, Taarabt said that the city is very important to him: “All my family members live in Taza. My mother and father’s family are there, [….] It has my roots; whenever I feel down, I go back to the city to visit my cousins and my family.”

    Taarabt emigrated to France with his family when he was only 11 years old. “People, especially Moroccans, do not know that I always felt pressure. People were always expecting me to be the future Zinedine Zidane (French former footballer), a pressure that was always difficult to manage.”

    While he knows he will not be able to forge a better career for himself, he does not regret what he has done so far. “I have already played for famous international teams, like Tottenham Hotspour, Queens Park Rangers,Benfica, which itself is an achievement.”

    Taarabt has also played for France’s national under-17 and 19 teams.

    During the televised interview, Taarabt mentioned the first time he was called to play for the Moroccan national team. “I asked my family, my mother and father, and they told me that it would be a pleasure for me and them if I accepted Morocco’s invitation, but emphasized it was my own career, telling me ‘you can do whatever you want’.”

    “I think before I speak”

    The footballer touched on past clashes between him and former coaches for the Moroccan national football team, including Moroccan Zaki Badou and Belgian Eric Gerets. “I have never done anything bad to them, I just was very honest. Whatever I felt like I wanted to say, I just said it without thinking of the consequences.”

    Taarabt made a number of mistakes while playing for the Moroccan team. On the eve of the national team’s match against Algeria during the 2012 African of Cup of Nations qualifiers, he decided to leave the training camp and

    consequently did not play the match.

    Taarabt has blamed Moroccan media for continuous rumors, which he claimed were untrue. “They keep publishing stories that I went partying here and there, which is not true.” He continued that the majority of articles published were in Morocco, “from unprofessional journalists.”

    “They were not aware that these rumors might affect my sporting career, and even my family.” The footballer added that his mother was always receiving calls from family, asking if there was any validity to the rumors that he had been fired from Benifica.

    A potential future representing Morocco?

    Earlier this year, Taarabt expressed his desire to rejoin the Moroccan national football team. “I’d be happy to join the Moroccan team in the future, and I will do my best with Genoa to have the opportunity to get back my Moroccan team’s jersey, which I had been hoping to defend during the African Cup of Nations,” Taarabt said.

    The footballer’s wish may come true if he succeeds in developing his football techniques with Genoa FC. The Moroccan joined the Italian club in 2017, on loan from Benifica.

    https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2017/07/222646/adel-taarabt-blames-moroccan-media-ruining-sports-career/

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  • Abdelhak Nouri: Ajax midfielder 'out of danger' but remains in intensive care

    Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri is "out of danger" but remains in intensive care after collapsing during a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen.

    The incident, which happened during Saturday's game in Hippach, Austria, led to the match being abandoned.

    Ajax said Nouri, 20, had suffered "cardiac arrhythmias" - heart rhythm problems - during the game.

    An open training session by the 33-time Dutch champions planned for Monday has been cancelled.

    Nouri was part of the Ajax squad for the Europa League final against Manchester United in May.

    However, the Netherlands youth international played no part in the game, which United won 2-0.

    Nouri played 15 league and cup games for Ajax in 2016-17, scoring one goal in a Dutch Cup tie.

    Former Netherlands captain Ruud Gullit posted on social media: "#abdelhaknouri we pray for you."

    Ajax Cape Town, a feeder club for the Dutch side, also sent a message of support.

    "We would like to wish speedy recovery to Abdelhak Nouri from @AFCAjax who collapsed in a friendly game," it posted on Twitter.

    An Ajax statement, released on Sunday, said: "Should anything change in the situation of Nouri, Ajax will report through its official channels."

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/40549773

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  • CAF CL: Achraf Bencharki goal sends Wydad into quarterfinals

    A goal from Achraf Bencharki sent Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca into the quarterfinals of the CAF Champions League after beating Zambia’s Zanaco 1-0 in a Group D match at the Complexe Mohammed V on Saturday night.

    The win catapulted Wydad to the top of the group standings with 12 points while the loss for Zanaco, combined with Al Ahly’s 3-1 win over Coton Sport (also on Saturday), sees them finish in third place as they exit the competition.

    The win for Al Ahly them finish second in the group with 11 points – the same as Zanaco but with a superior goal difference while Coton Sport are last with no points.

    The match itself at the Complexe Mohammed V offered very little in terms of goalmouth action in the opening half.

    Instead, the play was rather sloppy and both teams showed their frustration with some rough tackling.

    The second half produced more drama when Zanaco were reduced to ten men on the hour mark after Taonga Bwembya was giving his matching orders for a second yellow card.

    Eight minutes later Achraf Bencharki scored the decisive goal for Wydad to hand them the victory and a spot in the knockout stages of the CAF Champions League.

    Wydad will now play either Esperance or Mamelodi Sundowns (who are in action on Sunday) in the quarterfinals of the competition on the weekend of 8-10 September.

    http://africanfootball.com//news/719347/Achraf-Bencharki-goal-sends-Wydad-into-quarterfinals

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  • Transfers: Carcela-Gonzalez joins Olympiakos

    (Greece) Moroccan international midfielder Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez has signed a contract with Olympiakos, the Greek champions announced Friday.

    No details of the deal were given by the Piraeus club but local media reported that the contract is for three years.

    Carcela-Gonzalez, 28, has played 17 matches for the Moroccan national team, scoring one goal.

    On a club level he arrives from Spanish side Granada after stints with Portugal’s Benfica, Belgian club Standard Liege and Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia.

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  • CAF: FUS move into Confed quarterfinals

    (Supersport.com) FUS Rabat have claimed a place in the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederation Cup after they defeated Rivers United 2-1 in their final Group A match on Friday night.

    The result in Morocco saw the hosts move level with Uganda’s KCCA (who were beaten heavily in a concurrent match by group winners Club Africain in Tunisia) on nine points, but FUS claim second place on a head-to-head tiebreaker.

    FUS dominated the first half and tested United goalkeeper Akande Asimiyu on several occasions, as well as hitting the crossbar on 42 minutes through Youssef El Gnaoui.

    Yet it was the Nigerians who claimed the lead just before halftime and very much against the run of play.

    FUS goalkeeper Aymane Majid made a major error in judgment by coming off his line to try and claim a cross, which ended with Rivers’ Bolaji Sakin steering the ball into an almost unguarded net to put his side 1-0 up.

    The Moroccans hit back early in the second half though El Gnaoui, who latched onto a ball across the face of goal and steered a low shot past Asimiyu to make it 1-1 in the 52nd minute.

    FUS continued their domination after drawing level and with a quarter hour to play they twice came close to adding to their tally, with Mohammed Fouzair denied by a wonderful save, before El Gnaoui saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Joseph Douhadji.

    The match looked destined to end in a stalemate, but with the end of regulation time looming the hosts were awarded a penalty when Festus Austin was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

    Fouzair took on the responsibility of the spot kick and coolly chipped the ball home in the 88th minute to seal a 2-1 win for FUS Rabat and a place in the quarterfinals.

    The Moroccans will face either MC Alger or CS Sfaxien in the last eight, with the final Group B standings to be decided on Saturday evening.

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  • Press review: President of Moroccan Federation Says Haddadi Will Join National Team

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – Fouzi Lekjaa, president of the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) is holding out hope that Spanish-born Moroccan footballer, Munir El Haddadi, may still join the Moroccan National Football Team despite FIFA’s eligibility regulations.

    After solving the problem between Moroccan-Dutch footballer, Hakim Ziyech and Herve Renard, head coach, Lekjaa, who is also a member of the African Football Confederation’s (CAF) executive board, is ambitious to make Munir’s dream come true.

    Recently, Munir has shown an interest in representing Morocco rather than the Spanish national football club.

    And yet, FIFA’s eligibility regulations could make Munir’s dream difficult to reach. Footballers may only change their national team if they have not appeared on the senior team in an actual competitive game. Munir, however, made a 15-minute appearance in a match between Spain and Macedonia in 2014.

    Desperate to make the youngster a part of the Moroccan team, Lekjaa said that “Munir El Haddadi will be one of the Atlas Lions, but we have to wait for the FIFA’s final say.”

    On June 23, a spokesman for FIFA refuted rumors on sports media platforms indicating that Munir El Haddadi had been approved by FIFA to suit up for the Moroccan National Football Team.

    The forward is currently playing for F.C Valencia as a striker. Valencia signed the dual nationality footballer from Barcelona for a season-long loan in 2016. He has also represented the Spanish national team, as well as the Spanish national under-19 football team and Spanish national under-21 football team.

    Whether or not El Haddadi does manage to represent Morocco’s national football team is something that only time will tell.

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