• CHAN 2018: Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Morocco battle for 2018 CHAN hosting

    October 2 – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced that Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and favourites Morocco have all stepped in to bid to stage the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) following the ruling to strip Kenya of hosting rights.

    At its meeting on September 23, CAF’s Executive Committee decided to complete the process of selecting a new host country for the tournament, scheduled for January, within 15 days.

    A CAF inspection team visited Kenya in mid-September and found that only one of the four venues was ready to stage the event.

    It is the second time Kenya has lost the right to stage an African football competition after being replaced by South Africa as 1996 Africa Cup of Nations hosts.

    CHAN, now in its fifth edition, is a competition that brings together 16 national teams made up of players who compete in their national championships. The successful bid will be announced next weekend.


  • CHAN 2018: Equatorial Guinea and Morocco submit bids to host 2018 CHAN

    (BBC) The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has confirmed that two countries, Equatorial Guinea and Morocco, have submitted bids to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

    Morocco confirmed their bid on Saturday, with Equatorial Guinea - who staged the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations - the only other country to submit a bid before the deadline passed.

    Caf are looking for new hosts to replace Kenya who lost the rights after failing to meet the African football body's requirements.

    The successful bid will be announced next weekend.

    The biennial tournament is for locally-based players only.

    It is set to be staged from 12 January to 4 February 2018.

  • CAF Confed Cup: Confederation Cup holders TP Mazembe seize narrow semi-final advantage

    (BBC) TP Mazembe of the DR Congo continued the defence of their Confederation Cup title with a 1-0 home win over FUS Rabat of Morocco in the first leg of the semi-finals.

    In Sunday's other last four tie, South Africa's SuperSport United came from behind to salvage a late 1-1 draw with Tunisia's Club Africain in Pretoria.

    Mazembe - who were the most impressive quarter-final winners with a 7-1 aggregate win over Sudan's Al Hilal Obied - found goals much harder to come by against FUS on Sunday in Lubumbashi.

    The reigning champions struck early, with Ben Malango putting Mazembe in front in the 14th minute, his sixth goal of the tournament this season.

    The hosts pushed hard to increase their lead but were left frustrated by a solid FUS defence, to keep their advantage to just one goal heading into the second leg in Rabat in three weeks' time.

    In Pretoria, Tunisia's Club Africain secured a precious away goal, but will be disappointed to have conceded late against home side SuperSport United.

    The Tunisians went ahead through captain Saber Khalifa who hit a 21st minute penalty, and they withstood some intense pressure from the hosts thereafter.

    SuperSport got their breakthrough in the 89th minute when substitute Thabo Mnyamane took a penalty which was saved, only for Mnyamane to tap in off the rebound.

    Both return legs will take place on Friday 20 October 2017.

  • CHAN 2018: Morocco officially bid to replace Kenya as hosts of 2018 CHAN

    (BBC) Morocco have confirmed they are bidding to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) after Kenya was stripped of hosting rights last weekend.

    The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) announced on its website that it wanted to stage the tournament to "embrace the youth of the continent and enable them to have a promising future."

    Morocco had already qualified for the biennial tournament which is only for locally-based players.

    It is set to be staged from 12 January to 4 February 2018.

    Kenya lost the right to host the 2018 event following a Confederation of African Football (Caf) executive committee meeting in Accra.

    A Caf inspection team visited Kenya from 11 to 17 September 2017 and found that only one of the four venues was ready to stage the event.

    It is the second time Kenya has lost the right to stage an African football competition after being replaced by South Africa as 1996 Africa Cup of Nations hosts.

    Caf say the bidding process for new hosts is open until Sunday 1 October, with the successful country being named a week later.

  • NT: Fouad Chafik has been called up as replacement for Hamza Mendyl who is not fully fit to play

    NT: Fouad Chafik (Dijon) has been called up as replacement for Hamza Mendyl who is not fully fit to play against Gabon.

  • CAF CL: USM Alger and Wydad Casablanca cancelled each other out in a hard-fought goalless draw in Algeria

    USM Alger and Wydad Casablanca played out a tense 0-0 draw in their CAF Champions League semi-final first leg.

    USM Alger had the better chances in front of their own fans at the July 5, 1962 Stadium in Algiers, but were unable to break down a stubborn Wydad defence.

    Amir Sayoud had the two best chances for the hosts, first sending a dipping volley over the crossbar midway through the second period, before whipping a left-footed shot agonisingly past Zouhair Laaroubi's post.

    The two sides will meet again on October 20 at the Stade Mohammed V stadium in Casablanca for the right to face either Etoile Sahel or Al Ahly in the final.

    Read more at https://www.fourfourtwo.com/news/usm-alger-0-wydad-casablanca-0-stalemate-algiers-leaves-tie-finely-poised#YMMe1jKSXbDUJDsV.99

  • NT: S. Korea confirm football friendly with Morocco

    (Yonhap) -- South Korea's football governing body confirmed Friday that the men's national team will play Morocco in an international friendly next month.

    The Korea Football Association (KFA) said South Korea will take on Morocco at Tissot Arena in Biel, Switzerland, on Oct. 10. It will be South Korea's second friendly after clinching a berth at the 2018 FIFA World Cup earlier this month. The Taeguk Warriors are first set to meet the World Cup hosts Russia in Moscow on Oct. 7.

    The KFA originally planned a friendly with Tunisia for Oct. 10, but the African side pulled out of its commitment Sept. 22 citing "internal reasons." In Tunisia's stead, the KFA has been working with Morocco to launch a friendly to put the finishing touches to their World Cup preparations.

    South Korea, currently 51st in the latest FIFA rankings, have played 56th-ranked Morocco once. In March 1996, the two sides played to a 2-2 draw.

    Morocco have yet to secure their spot at the 2018 World Cup. They're currently second in Group B in the third round of the African World Cup qualifying tournament with six points, just one point behind group leaders, Ivory Coast. In Africa, only the group winners earn a World Cup berth.

    South Korea's national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong announced his roster for the upcoming friendlies Monday. His 23-man squad is made up entirely of overseas-based players and includes Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur and Ki Sung-yueng of Swansea City.

  • Press review: Renard: Morocco have what it takes to qualify

    (FIFA.com) Twice a CAF Africa Cup of Nations winner, Herve Renard has high hopes of reaching his first world finals

    Twenty years have passed since Morocco last appeared at the FIFA World Cup™, when Mustapha Hadji, Youssef Chippo and Salaheddine Bassir wowed the fans at France 1998.

    Current Morocco captain Mehdi Benatia was only 11 at the time, while team-mate Hakim Ziyech was aged just five. Having sat out four tournaments since, the Moroccan Football Association focused their attention on Russia 2018 by appointing Frenchman Herve Renard as head coach of the national team. A CAF Africa Cup of Nations winner with Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire, Renard began his tenure with two goalless draws in Group C of the African qualifying competition for Russia 2018, results that left Morocco fans underwhelmed.

    Discussing that slow start with FIFA.com, he said: “We came back from Gabon with a good result and we wanted to win when we played Côte d’Ivoire, but they were solid opponents. We had two good chances to get the three points but we couldn’t put them away.”

    Hopes revived

    Following those results, Morocco travelled back to Gabon for the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, reaching the quarter-finals despite being without a number of first-choice players. In the process, the Atlas Lions knocked out defending champions Côte d’Ivoire in the group phase, with their performances rekindling their supporters’ hopes of a place at Russia 2018.

    With the continental finals now behind them, the Moroccans are devoting all their attention to World Cup qualifying. They gave their campaign a boost with an emphatic 6-0 win over Mali in Rabat, while group leaders Côte d’Ivoire lost at home to Gabon.

    It proved to be a case of feast or famine though, as the return against the Malians in Bamako produced another goalless result. “We took our chances in the first game and didn’t in the second," Renard admitted. "When we missed a penalty and four one-on-ones against the keeper. We dropped points, but so did our rivals. I think we’re still on the right track.”

    The time has come

    Most observers are agreed that Group C is one of the tightest of the five in Africa, with Côte d’Ivoire just two points ahead of third-placed Gabon and one in front of Morocco in second. In the next round of games the North Africans will entertain the Gabonese, while the Ivorians travel to Mali, who lie bottom.

    Renard does not see that as an advantage, however: “It’ll be a good matchday for us if we can beat Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire lose in Bamako, but that’s just hypothetical right now. We need to repeat the performance we produced against Mali at home. We’ll be playing in Casablanca, where the atmosphere will be white hot, and we need to put ourselves in the best possible position before we go to the Côte d’Ivoire on 6 November.

    “They’re not the most balanced team there is, but they do have some superb players, like [Didier] Ndong and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang,” said Renard, discussing the threat posed by Gabon. “The Gabonese are very strong on the counter, especially when Aubameyang starts. They also know how to cope when they don’t have the Borussia Dortmund striker, as they showed in beating Côte d’Ivoire. That means we can’t take anything for granted against them. We absolutely need to win because any other type of result is going to leave us in a tricky position.”

    One month later, Morocco will travel to Côte d’Ivoire for a match that could well be decisive: “I hope that’ll be the case. We have to beat Gabon first, and then prepare for the last match, which we hope will see us qualify for Russia 2018.”

    Daring to dream

    Renard is optimistic about his side’s qualification chances: “We’re in a better situation now than we were in September. We had two tough matches against Mali and came through them really well. There are only two points separating third from first in the group and the top three can still all qualify for Russia. I think it’s the most solid and best organised team that will end up going through, and I hope that team is Morocco.”

    The former Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire boss is well aware how much the Morocco fans want to see their team back on the big stage: “The whole country’s dreaming about it. The people of Morocco really believe we can qualify. The whole atmosphere has changed especially after the return game against Mali. Everyone knows it’s not going to be easy, but we’re going to do all we can to take the country to the finals for the first time in 20 years.

    “I ask every Morocco fan to support us with all their might, like they did against Mali in Rabat. I’m sure that the atmosphere will be even hotter for the Gabon game in Casablanca. If we want to win the game, then we need to start on the front foot.”

    Morocco’s remaining Russia 2018 qualifying fixtures:

    7 October: Gabon (h)

    6 November: Côte d’Ivoire (a)

  • WC2018 Qualifiers: Morocco squad list vs Gabon

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco coach Herve Renard has selected 26 players for the upcoming World Cup 2018 qualifier against Gabon. The match will be played at Complexe Mohamed V in Casablanca on Saturday Oct 7th.

    Here is the squad list:

    1-Munir El Kajoui - Numancia

    2-Yassine Bounou - Girona

    3-Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti - IRT

    4-Nabil Dirar - Fenerbahce

    5-Achraf Hakimi - Real Madrid

    6-Marouane Da Costa - Başakşehir

    7-Mehdi Benatia - Juventus

    8-Ghanim Romain Saiss - Wolverhampton

    9-Hamza Mendil - Lille

    10-Jaouad Yamiq - RCA

    11-Mohammed Nahiri - WAC

    12-Karim El Ahmadi - Feyenoord Rotterdam

    13-Youssef Ait Bennasser - Caen

    14-Mbark Boussoufa - Al-Jazira

    15-Younes Belhanda - Galatasaray

    16-Faycal Fajr - Getafe

    17-Amine Harit - Schalke 04

    18-Nordin Amrabat - Leganes FC

    19-Hakim Ziyech - Ajax Amsterdam

    20-Oussama Tannane - Las Palmas

    21-Mohammed Ounajjem - WAC

    22-Ismail Haddad - WAC

    23-Mahi Mimoun - FC Groningen

    24-Khalid Boutaib - Yeni Malatyaspor

    25-Aziz Bouhaddouz - St Pauli

    26-Rachid Alioui - Nimes.

  • CAF CL: Wydad advance to CAF Champions League semis

    (Xinhua) -- Morocco's Wydad Casablanca advanced late on Saturday to the CAF Champions League semifinals after defeating Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa 3-2 on penalties.

    At the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, the Moroccan champions dominated the match, but were only able to score once at the 26th minute through midfielder Salah Saidi.

    The first leg of the quarterfinal in South Africa ended with the same score 1-0 for Mamelodi.

    Wydad Casablanca qualified for the second straight time to the CAF Champions League semifinals.

    The Moroccan side aim to win their second Champions League title after claiming their first crown back in 1992.


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