• Transfers: Adel Taarabt Negotiates with France’s FC Nantes

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – Adel Taarabt may return to the French league. According to sports outlet Goal, the Moroccan international midfielder is currently in discussions with French club FC Nantes for the coming season.

    The Atlas Lion, accompanied by some family members, met the president of FC Nantes, Waldemar Kita, on Monday, July 30, to negotiate a contract.

    Last season Adel Taarabt played 22 Serie A games with Genoa. He made 18 starts and scored two goals and two assists. The Moroccan joined the Italian club in 2017 on loan from Benfica, with whom he has a contract until 2020.

    Taarabt, who trained at RC Lens, has already played with some prestigious clubs, including Tottenham, Fulham, AC Milan, and Benfica.

    However, the 29-year-old football player has developed a bad reputation. In multiple clubs, he has had trouble getting along with his teammates.

    As for his career with the national team, Taarabt has not played for Morocco for over 3 years. Last year, he expressed a wish to be part of Hervé Renard’s list for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Unfortunately, given his controversial past, Taarabt did not make the cut.

    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 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, he decided to leave the training camp and consequently did not play the match.

    Taarabt immigrated 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 [former French footballer], a pressure that was always difficult to manage.”

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

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

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  • CAF Confed Cup: Raja Casablanca add to ASEC Mimosas woes

    (Africanfootball.com) Raja Casablanca beat ASEC Mimosas 4-0 in the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup Group A match at the Stade Mohammed V in Morocco on Sunday.

    As a result, Morocco's Raja moved back to the top of the group standings, while Ivorian giants Mimosas remained fourth on the table.

    The Green Eagles did most of the attacking in the early exchanges and they deservedly took the lead through their centre forward Mahmoud Benhalib.

    The 22-year-old striker hit the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Raja - 18 minutes into the encounter with Mimosas goalkeeper Aboubacar Bamba well-beaten.

    The Black and Yellows defence was unsettled after conceding an early goal with lively attacker Benhalib causing havoc for the visitors with his movement upfront.

    A mistake by the Mimosas defence led to Benhalib snatching the ball in the 27th minute and he pushed forward with the visitors’ backline exposed.

    Benhalib then step up Zakaria Hadraf and the latter beat former Mimosas shot-stopper Bamba to make it 2-0 to Raja as the hosts’ pressure paid off.

    The Green Eagles piled pressure on the Black and Yellows, and they nearly extended their lead four minutes before the half-hour mark.

    Bamba produced two superb saves to deny Raja duo Anas Jabroun and Soufiane Rahimi. The keeper stopped Jabroun’s effort, before saving Rahimi’s attempt from the rebound.

    However, the Mimosas goal-minder was well-beaten on the stroke of half-time and it was Hadraf, who hit the back of the net to make it 3-0 to Raja.

    The score was 3-0 to Raja at half-time with 28-year-old Hadraf having grabbed a first-half brace.

    Burkina Faso striker Ahmed Traore was introduced by Mimosas at the beginning of the second-half as the visitors looked to pull one back and push for more goals.

    However, the hosts were awarded a penalty just after the hour-mark and the Green Eagles had an opportunity to extend their lead against the Black, and Yellows.

    Benhalib then stepped up, and he converted from the spot-kick to make it 4-0 to Raja with the attacker grabbing his second goal of the game.

    Two-goal hero Hadraf was pulled out by the Green Eagles and he was replaced by fellow attacker Hassan Bouain with 16 minutes left on the clock as the hosts searched for more goals.

    However, the visitors defended much better in the closing stages of the game and they managed to contain Benhalib, who was looking to grab his hat-trick.

    Mimosas were unable to grab a late consolation goal and ultimately, Raja emerged 4-0 winners on the night.

    Raja (3) 4 (Benhalib 18’, 62’, Hadraf 27’, 45’+2)

    Mimosas (0) 0

    Raja: Zniti, Boutayeb, Achchakir, Benoun, Jbira, Bahi, Niasse, Hadraf (Bouain 74’), Rahimi (Alami 67’), Jabroun (Iajour 60’), Benhalib.

    Mimosas: Bamba, Gloudoueu, Coulibaly, Koanda, Samake (Dosso 63’), Coulibaly, Ta Bi (Toure 46’), Badié, Diarrassouba (Sanoko 63’), Diomande, Yao.

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  • CAF CL: Wydad on course for quarterfinals

    (Africanfootball.com) CAF Champions League holders Wydad Casablanca remain on course for the quarterfinals after they defeated Horoya AC 2-0 at Stade Mohamed V on Saturday night.

    The result sees the Moroccans rise to the top of Group C with a tally of eight points, while the Guineans are tied for second on five points with South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns. AS Togo-Port bring up the rear with three points, as all four teams remain in quarterfinal contention.

    Wydad got off to a great start and claimed the lead as early as the 12th minute, with Chieck Ibrahim Comara netting after a fine move from the hosts.

    Just six minutes later the Moroccans strengthened their grip on the game by claiming a 2-0 lead, with Mohamed Ounnajem netting to see Wydad fully capitalise on a strong spell of dominance.

    The Casablanca side regularly tested out Horoya goalkeeper Khadim N’Diaye, who was a busy man through the first half and prevented a more emphatic score line by half time.

    The second half saw Wydad take their foot off the pedal and cruise home to the three points, keeping Horoya at bay with relative ease.

    The teams will return to CAF Champions League action on the weekend of August 17-19, with Wydad at home to Mamelodi Sundowns, while Horoya will host Togo-Port.

    Wydad Casablanca (2) 2 (Comara 12’, Ounnajem 18’)

    Horoya AC 0

    Wydad: Tagnaouti, Nekkach, Ounnajem, Gadarine, El Haddad (Al Ashbahi 90+2’), Michel (Tighazaoui 72’), El Karti (El Hassouni 83’), Saidi, Noussir, Comara, Nahiri

    Horoya: N’Diaye, Al. Camara (Mando 64’), Ab. Camara, Assoko, A. Camara, Mensah, Baffour, Lingani, Mandela, D. Camara, Al. A. Camara (Nikiema 85’)

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  • Morocco: Benzarti takes over again as Tunisia coach

    (Reuters) - Veteran coach Faouzi Benzarti is to return for a third stint in charge of Tunisia’s national team, 24 years after his first, after agreeing a two-year contract, the Tunisian Football Federation said on Sunday.

    The 68-year-old leaves African champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco after six months, replacing Nabil Maaloul who resigned after the World Cup in Russia where Tunisia were eliminated in the group stage after losing to Belgium and England.

    Benzarti will be charged with qualifying Tunisia for next year’s African Nations Cup finals, starting with their Group J game in Swaziland in September.

    Benzarti’s first spell in charge of Tunisia came to an end during the 1994 Nations Cup finals which Tunisia hosted but where they were eliminated in the first round.

    He returned for a second spell in 2009 and took the Tunisians to the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola where they drew all three games and also went out at the first hurdle.

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  • Transfers: Nantes sell striker Yacine Bammou to Caen for a fee around €2m

    SM Caen’s summer re-building project under new manager Fabien Mercadal continues with today’s announcement of the signing of forward Yacine Bammou from Nantes.

    The French-born Moroccan striker has signed a 4-year contract with the Normandy-based club, reportedly for a fee between €2m-€2.5m.

    The 26-year-old moves to Caen after four years at Nantes, where, in all competitions, he mustered 17 goals in 130 appearances.

    Bammou becomes Caen’s 6th signing of the summer since Mercadal’s appointment, and their third in the striking department, following the arrivals of Casmir Ninga and Malik Tchokounté.

    http://www.getfootballnewsfrance.com/2018/official-nantes-sell-striker-yacine-bammou-to-caen-for-a-fee-around-e2m/

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  • NT: Moroccan football federation's president says Hervé Renard is to stay with the Atlas Lions

    The Royal Moroccan Football Federation’s (FRMF) President, Fouzi Lekjaa denied rumors, suggesting that Coach Hervé Renard is abondaning the Atlas Lions, on Tuesday during a forum held by MAP press agency in Rabat.

    The FRMF president then commented on the national football team’s performance during the 2018 world cup. He later criticized the use of the the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) «that should not have been used (...) at the world cup as experimental»

    «We are not able to set up a professional leagues at the level of the other international that can be compared to other countries, but it is necessary to work together to speed up the process», he explained.

    ...More : https://en.yabiladi.com/articles/details/67418/moroccan-football-federation-s-president-says.html

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  • Morocco: After retiring, footballer Mounir El Hamdaoui joins an Al Hoceima club as a technical director

    Moroccan international Mounir El hamdaoui has just retired. The 34-year-old joined on Tuesday Chabab Rif Al Hoceima club and will be operating as a technical director, says Dutch online newspaper Nu Sports.

    El Hamdaoui was playing for FC Twente before deciding to end his career as a footballer. He was playing for six different clubs, including Ajax, Willem II and Excelsior. He was also part of other clubs in Spain and the Middle East, namely Malaga, Salal and Al-Taawon clubs.

    Mounir El hamdaoui was summoned by the Morocco national football team in 2006. He scored his first goal for the Atlas Lions in 2009 in a game against Gabon, played in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

    ...More : https://en.yabiladi.com/articles/details/67438/after-retiring-footballer-mounir-hamdaoui.html

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  • Transfers: Ziyech facing dilemma as he ponders future

    (KweséESPN) Ajax Amsterdam's Morocco international Hakim Ziyech faces something of a dilemma heading into Wednesday's UEFA Champions League tie against Austria's Sturm Graz as he continues to hope for a move away from the Dutch giants.

    Ziyech, who played in all three of his country's matches at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, made it clear at the end of last season that he wanted to leave Ajax despite being named their player of the season in a supporters' poll.

    But without a firm offer yet, and the end of the transfer window fast approaching, Ziyech might have no option but to stay and help Ajax as they seek to get through the preliminary round of the Champions League and into the group phase while also searching for their first Dutch league (Eredivisie) title since 2014.

    If he plays in the midweek Champions League encounter, he will be cup-tied and it will make a possible transfer more difficult.

    But if he does not play and Ajax crash out early, as they did last season to French club Nice at the same stage of the competition, and then he does remain, it will be without the prospect of Champions League football.

    The 25-year-old is available for Wednesday's game but without any match practice since returning from the World Cup in Russia.

    "It could be that Ziyech stays," said coach Erik ten Hag in the build-up to the second preliminary round, first leg match at the newly renamed Johan Cruyff Arena.

    "He has a wish to go and an agreement was made between him and the club about this two years ago already.

    "There have been discussions with other clubs, but at the moment there is nothing concrete.

    "He is extremely motivated to start the season with us and would find it a pleasure to be able to contribute," the coach claimed.

    Ziyech did take part in the six-day training camp at Burton-on-Trent in England but, because of a small niggle, did not play in friendlies against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Walsall.

    In the two years since signing from Utrecht he has had a fractious relationship with the fans, who have often jeered him for a perceived indifference in performance but also acknowledged his contribution by naming him their best player.

    When Ajax were beaten 3-0 by PSV Eindhoven, who went on to secure the league title, towards the end of last season, Ajax's team bus was stopped by angry fans who confronted the players with Ziyech allegedly struck.

    In the next match, despite Ajax beating VVV Venlo 4-1. Ziyech came in for mass abuse from his own supporters. "I couldn't watch it, I felt so bad for the youngster," Ruud Gullit said after the game to Dutch TV.

    "No one purposely sets out to play badly and Ziyech is a great footballer, the best at the club."

    Ajax have been preparing for a future without Ziyech and already signed Dusan Tadic as his successor.

    But Ziyech's options are running out. Ajax previously turned down an offer from Roma, who spent 17.5-million euros on Justin Kluivert, and other alleged interest from Everton and Liverpool has not turned into anything concrete.

    Read more...
  • NT: Morocco to Play Friendly Game against Tunisia

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – The Atlas Lions will be back soon. The Moroccan national football team is set to face Tunisia for a friendly game on November 20 in Tunis.

    The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) confirmed the news on Sunday. “This meeting will serve as preparation for the men of Hervé Renard.”

    The match will be the first friendly game for Morocco’s Atlas Lions after their praised participation in the 2018 World Cup.

    The last few months of 2018 will be eventful as Morocco will play several qualification games for the Africa Cup of Nations.

    The first game will be against Malawi on September 7. Morocco will play against Comoros on October 10 and 13. Morocco will then play against Cameroon on November 16 and a second game against Malawi on March 22, 2019.

    Morocco’s participation in the 2018 World Cup received international applause despite their loss in two games against Iran and Portugal.

    Morocco made a draw in its last World Cup game against Spain.

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  • Official: Supercopa in Morocco

    By Football Espana

    The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed that the Supercpoa between Sevilla and Barcelona will be played in Morocco on August 12.

    A statement on the RFEF’s website explained the match would be held at the Stade Ibn Battouta in Tangier at 21:00 BST.

    It marks the first official game of the 2018-19 football season in Spain and will be contested between last term’s double winners Barca and Sevilla, who were runners-up to the Catalans in the Copa del Rey.

    Unlike previous years, the Supercopa will be a single fixture as opposed to a two-legged tie.

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