• CAF CL: Wydad Casablanca African Champion after beating Al-Ahly 1-0 (agg 2-1)

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Wydad Casablanca are African Champions after beating Egyptian Al-Ahly 1-0 (agg 2-1) on Saturday, goal of Walid El Karti in the 69 min.

    See goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAXybWRrM4k

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  • CAF CL: Wydad say 'suicidal' to shut up shop against Ahly

    Wydad Casablanca coach Hussein Amotta said it would be "suicidal" to try and defend the 1-1 CAF Champions League final first-leg draw when they meet Al Ahly again Saturday.

    A goalless second leg at the Stade Mohammed V would give the Moroccans victory over the Egyptians on the away-goal rule in the premier African club competition title decider.

    But Amotta believes "parking the bus" is not an option as Wydad seek to win the competition for the second time after their 1992 triumph over Al Hilal of Sudan.

    "Ahly boast one of the best attacks in Africa so it would be suicidal to sit back and defend against them, hoping to win on away goals," the 48-year-old former midfielder said.

    "We must attack because there are flaws in the Ahly defence, while not giving our opponents space to catch us on the counter.

    "Wydad achieved a great result in Egypt by holding Ahly, one of the most experienced clubs in the continent.

    "But this final is far from decided. I want my players to relax, attack when it is opportune and try very hard to score the first goal," said Amotta.

    Wydad, making their third appearance in the final having lost to Esperance of Tunisia six seasons ago, boast a perfect Champions League home record this year of six victories.

    Among their victims were Ahly in the group stage with goals from now-departed Congo Brazzaville striker Fabrice Ondama and midfielder Walid El Karty delivering a 2-0 win.

    They also eliminated defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa on penalties after a Salaheddine Saidi goal won the second leg in Rabat.

    The Wydad defence and goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi have been outstanding at home in Africa, going 517 minutes without conceding before USM Alger of Algeria netted in the semi-finals.

    At the other end of the pitch, striker Achraf Bencharki has regained form at the right time, scoring three goals in his last two outings.

    His brace saw off USM in a 3-1 semi-final second-leg triumph and he levelled via a glancing header in the final after Ahly had snatched a third-minute lead via Moamen Zakaria.

    Bencharki had scored only twice in 11 earlier Champions League matches this season for a club with two CAF titles to boast of having won the 2002 African Cup Winners Cup.

    Ahly may be on the back foot having squandered numerous chances in Alexandria with Morocco-born Walid Azaro the chief culprit after scoring a semi-finals hat-trick.

    They were also deprived of a blatant penalty during the second half when Azaro was floored in full sight of the generally unimpressive Ethiopian referee.

    Record eight-time champions Ahly have a mixed away record in Africa this season, winning twice, drawing twice and losing twice.

    The "Cairo Red Devils" will be encouraged, though, by a win and a draw from three previous visits to Wydad in the competition.

    Coach Hossam El Badry remains hopeful of a second title under his watch, having guided the club to 2012 glory in a previous spell at the helm.

    "We did not exploit our chances in the first leg and were denied an obvious penalty," said the 57-year-old former Ahly defender.

    "Our overall performance was impressive and I believe in the abilities of my players. We will fight to achieve victory until the final whistle sounds."

    The champions will pocket a record $2.5 million (about 2.1 million euros) and secure a place at the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates during December.

    AFP

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  • Morocco defeats Mali to retain title at IBSA Blind Football African Championships

    Morocco defeated Mali 8-1 to retain its title in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Championships at Tira Chapéu in Praia in Cape Verde.

    Morocco went on the attack in the first half and scored four goals but Mali returned in the second half to seek revenge.

    The Moroccans, however, went on to convert another four goals to get a third successive win.

    Both countries are now through to the World Championships in Madrid next June.

    The third and fourth place play-off between Egypt and Cape Verde was played at the same venue the previous day.

    Amilton de Jesus Pereira created history by scoring Cape Verde's first ever goal at the African Championship in the fourth minute to take a 1-0 lead against Egypt.

    Egypt reacted with two rapid goals only for the hosts hit back to make it 2-2 at half-time, following a penalty.

    Egypt was to dominate the second half and scored three goals to win 5-2.

    Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hattab was the Championship's top goalscorer with 16 goals and was awarded player of the tournament.

    His team-mate, Samir Bara, was honoured with goalkeeper of the tournament.

    Cape Verde received the fair play award.

    https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1057452/morocco-defeats-mali-to-retain-title-at-ibsa-blind-football-african-championships

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  • African Champions League final: Wydad will not sit back against Al Ahly

    (BBC sports) Wydad Casablanca coach Hussein Amotta said it would be "suicidal" to defend to earn the goalless draw that would win the African Champions League title.

    The Moroccan side host Egypt's eight-time winners Al Ahly on Saturday in the second leg of the final after last weekend's 1-1 draw in Alexandria.

    Wydad are seeking to win the competition for the second time after their 1992 triumph over Al Hilal of Sudan.

    "Ahly boast one of the best attacks in Africa so it would be suicidal to sit back and defend against them, hoping to win on away goals," 48-year-old former midfielder Amotta said.

    "We must attack because there are flaws in the Ahly defence, while not giving our opponents space to catch us on the counter.

    "Wydad achieved a great result in Egypt by holding Ahly, one of the most experienced clubs on the continent.

    "But this final is far from decided. I want my players to relax, attack when it is opportune and try very hard to score the first goal."

    Wydad boast a perfect Champions League home record this year of six victories.

    Among their victims were Ahly in the group stage with goals from now-departed Congo Brazzaville striker Fabrice Ondama and midfielder Walid El Karty delivering a 2-0 win.

    They also eliminated defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa on penalties after a Salaheddine Saidi goal won the second leg in Rabat.

    Ahly squandered numerous chances in the first leg with Morocco-born Walid Azaro the chief culprit after scoring a semi-final hat-trick.

    They were also deprived of a penalty during the second half when Azaro was floored in full sight of the generally unimpressive Ethiopian referee.

    Ahly have a mixed away record in Africa this season, winning twice, drawing twice and losing twice.

    The Cairo Red Devils will be encouraged, though, by a win and a draw from three previous visits to Wydad in the competition.

    Coach Hossam El Badry remains hopeful of a second title under his watch, having guided the club to 2012 glory in a previous spell at the helm.

    "We did not exploit our chances in the first leg and were denied an obvious penalty," said the 57-year-old former Ahly defender.

    "Our overall performance was impressive and I believe in the abilities of my players. We will fight to achieve victory until the final whistle sounds."

    The champions will pocket a record $2.5 million and secure a place at the Fifa Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates next month.

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  • WC 2018 Qualifiers: Ivory Coast selection vs Morocco unveiled

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots has selected 25 players for the World Cup 2018 qualifier against Morocco.

    "The Elephants" trail Morocco by two points in Group C with just the group winners assured of making the finals in Russia.

    Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots has also recalled Gervinho, Max-Alain Gradel and Seydou Doumbia after being sidelined by injury.

    However, Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will miss the game through suspension.

    Squad

    Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (TP Mazembe/COD), Ali Badra Sangaré (Free State Stars/RSA), Hortalin Blé Zadi (Africa Sports/CIV)

    Defenders: Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Wilfried Kanon (Den Haag/NED), Adama Traoré (Goztepe/TUR), Joris Gnagnon (Rennes/FRA), Ghislain Konan (Vitoria Guimaraes/POR), Franck Kessié (AC Milan/ITA), Simon Déli (Slavia Prague/CZE) Mamadou Bagayoko (OH Louvain/BEL), Ismaël Traoré (Angers/FRA)

    Midfielders: Cheick Doukouré (Levante/ESP), Geoffroy Serey Dié (Basel/SUI), Seko Fofana (Udinese/ITA), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz/GER), Habib Maïga (St Etienne/FRA)

    Attackers: Maxwel Cornet (Lyon/FRA), Gervinho (Hebei Fortune/CHN), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin/GER), Seydou Doumbia (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Roger Assalé (Young Boys Berne/SUI), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa/ENG), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace/ENG), Max-Alain Gradel (Toulouse/FRA)

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  • CAF CL: Wydad Casablanca coach Hussein Amotta to change game plan for Champions League final

    (Africanfootball.com) Wydad Casablanca coach Hussein Amoutta reveals they will employ a different approach against Al Ahly in the second leg of their CAF Champions League final on Saturday.

    The two giants are fresh from a 1-1 draw in the first leg last week in Alexandria where the Egyptians scored through Moamen Zakaria, but Wydad equalised courtesy of Achraf Bencharki.

    Whilst Wydad are playing their third final, winning once and losing in 2011, Ahly will be making their 11th appearance at the final after tasting defeat twice in 1983 and 2007.

    “We are going to apply a totally different approach,” said Amoutta.

    “Of course holding Al Ahly away is a good result, but we have won nothing yet. It's a totally different match now and we have to prepare well as we're facing a team with great history and experience.”

    The encounter will be staged at the 60,000 capacity venue, Mohamed V Complex in Casablanca and the 48-year old coach will want to be victorious.

    Amoutta previously led FUS Rabat to CAF Confederation Cup glory in 2010 and looks poised to add another feat to his career.

    The winner will walk away with a cash reward of 2,500,000 US Dollars and a ticket to represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup in December in Abu Dhabi.

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  • Khalid Boutaib - Moroccan forward aims to continue good form

    (AfricanFootball.com) Yeni Malatyaspor forward Khalid Boutaïb will be aiming to continue his impressive goal scoring form when the Super League outfit take on İstanbul Başakşehir this weekend.

    The 30-year-old has been in the form of his life over the past 12 months and has already scored six goals in 10 appearances for his Turkish club this season.

    With a crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Ivory Coast on the horizon, Atlas Lions head coach Herve Renard will be hoping that the towering forward will carry his form to Abidjan where a draw will be enough to book their ticket to Russia.

    The French-born striker bagged a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Gabon in Casablanca last month as the North African's edged closer to next year's showpiece.

    Morocco last featured at a World Cup in 1998 where they suffered a group stage exit, but hopes are high that they will end their 20 year wait at the expense of the current African champions.

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  • Lionel Messi Expected in Agadir Next March in Friendly Game Against Morocco

    By Morocco World News

    Rabat – The Moroccan football team is due to face Argentina in a friendly game in Agadir next March, as the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) seeks to promote its candidacy for the organization of the 2026 World Cup. The FRMF required the presence of Lionel Messi, to provide an international visibility to the game.

    The announcement was made by FRMF’s president Faouzi Lakjae in an interview with the local sports TV channel Arriyadiya on Wednesday.

    In partnership with the Argentinian Football Association, the FRMF agreed to organize a gala match with the Albiceleste next March.

    “It has been a while that we’re working on taking it to the next level for the Moroccan team in terms of the friendly games”, Lakjae said.

    All the Latin American team’s stars, including FC Barcelona‘s living legend Messi, whom the FRMF insisted on his presence to promote the event abroad, will be there, according to Lakjae.

    More than just preparing the Atlas Lions for upcoming international tournaments, including the 2018 World Cup in Russia if the Moroccan squad manages to book its ticket for the championship, the other set goal behind the game with Argentina is to promote Morocco’s candidacy to host the World Cup 2026.

    “This is an opportunity to promote Morocco’s image”, said Lakjae.

    Morocco’s fifth bid to host the biggest football tournament faces an enormous competition from USA, Mexico and Canada. The three giants submitted a joint bid to host the event. Morocco’s candidacy enjoys a wide support from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

    The game will also be attended by FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, and CAF’s head Ahmad Ahmad, who campaigned for Morocco’s World Cup andidacy. The game’s date falls with the FIFA nomination file’s deadline, where candidates for the organization of the tournament have to provide details about their infrastructure and the stadiums that can host the World Cup’s games.

    The last time Morocco and Argentina met was in April 2004 in Casablanca in another friendly game. The visiting team won the match 1-0.

    A much more important game a than that of Argentina awaits the Moroccan squad. On November 11, Moroccans will face Cote d’Ivoire in decisive face off that will decide which of the team will qualify as the leader of Group C to the World Cup 2018 finals in Russia.

    The game is going to be held in the Félix-Houphouët-Boigny stadium in Abidjan.

    Morocco is one point away of booking its ticket to the finals since 1998.

    The Moroccan team coach Hervé Renard called up 26 players for the much anticipated game.

    With a combination of experienced players and talented newcomers, the Frenchman hopes to realize the dream of millions of Moroccans who are looking forward to seeing their team in the finals. However, he knows pretty well that the task is not going to be easy against the Elephants at the heart of Abidjan.

    “We defeated Ivory Coast during the African cup of Nations. We’ll have to do the same again”, he previously told beIN sports.

    “I think that we’ve made a lot of progress. But we have to be very efficient during those 90 minutes to seek this qualification that a whole nation is waiting for”, he said.

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  • Sofyan Amarabat: ”I have chosen to play with Morocco”

    (football-Oranje.com) Feyenoord midfielder Sofyan Amrabat spoke to the NOS after Feyenoord’s 3-1 defeat away to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

    The midfielder spoke about his decision to choose the Moroccan national team, despite holding talks with the KNVB.

    Amrabat said, ”I have chosen to remain indefinitely with the Moroccan national team.

    ”It is difficult to choose between two countries that really want you to play for them.

    ”I had really good talks with Dick Advocaat but I have chosen with my instinct to play for Morocco.

    ”I do not wish to say to say too much as we have just lost 3-1 in the Champions League. I am disappointed about that and at the right time I will reveal my reasons why I chose to remain with Morocco.

    ”There is still a chance of qualifying for the Europa League. Napoli are 3 points ahead of us and we still have to play them at home so there is still hope. We are still alive in Europe.”

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  • NT: Sofyan Amrabat opts indefinitely for Moroccan Atlas Lions above Dutch Oranje!

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Feyenoord midfielder Sofyan Amrabat (21) has indefinitely opted for Moroccan Atlas Lions above Dutch Oranje confirmed Dutch media on Wednesday.

    Sofyan will probably play his official international for The Atlas Lions in the World Cup 2018 qualifier against Ivory Coast on Nov. 11th.

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