• Holland: Abdelhak Nouri’s family say they were not told of existing heart ‘condition’

    Abdelhak Nouri’s family have responded to reports that the 20-year-old had a heart condition that was detected by the Dutch Football Association in 2014 and documented on the player’s medical file at Ajax by saying they are “very shocked” and “greatly regret” that neither the governing body nor the club informed the player’s parents at the time “to jointly agree on a follow-up process”.

    Abdelhak, who was one of the most talented young players in the Netherlands, collapsed on the pitch during a pre-season friendly in Austria against Werder Bremen on 8 July and remains in a low level of consciousness in a hospital in Amsterdam after suffering serious and permanent brain damage.

    The Nouri family say they had not suspected or been aware of any pre-existing condition at the time of the incident and only discovered the apparent heart defect – identified by the Dutch FA (the KNVB) during routine screening in April 2014 – when they obtained the medical file that Ajax provided “after repeated and explicit requests”.

    That document was passed on as part of an investigation that is being carried out on the family’s behalf by John Beer, a personal injury lawyer. Beer is looking at all aspects of the incident in Austria, including the level of care that Abdelhak received on the pitch immediately after he collapsed.

    The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad claimed on Friday that the KNVB informed Ajax in writing that there was an issue with Abdelhak’s heart. KNVB doctors reportedly evaluated the heart condition as harmless. The Dutch newspaper also claims that, according to the governing body, it is standard practice for the player and his family to then be notified by the club. However, the Nouri family say they were never told either verbally or in writing about the result of Abdelhak’s heart screening. The NRC report does not specify the heart condition.

    Furthermore, via a statement released on Saturday morning, the family say that had they known about the problem with Abdelhak’s heart – he was only 17 when it was picked up by the KNVB on an echocardiogram – they “would have immediately insisted on thorough follow-up examinations, a second opinion and regular follow-up tests, in order to assess the nature and risks of such a condition in combination with his intensive sporting activities”.

    NRC goes on to report in their article that “according to one person involved, it was communicated verbally” to Abdelhak that he had a heart defect, although the Nouri family strongly dispute that was the case and in their statement say they “give no credence to this”.

    It is unclear whether there is any connection between the pre-existing heart defect and Abdelhak collapsing last summer. Pointing to the fact that Abdelhak was able to play for Holland age-group teams at European championships in 2016 and 2014, the KNVB told NRC it “may be concluded” there was no danger to the player’s health.

    Ajax did not want to comment on NRC’s report and said, via a club spokesman: “No substantive information is to be shared, as it is a medical, and therefore confidential, file. In addition, our doctor has to adhere to professional confidentiality/doctor-patient privilege. We communicate directly with the Nouri family about matters concerning Abdelhak, and not through the media.”

    The full statement from the Nouri family, released in the wake of the NRC article, said: “Over the past six months, the family has heard from various doctors – mostly on an informal basis – that there may not have been an adequate response after Abdelhak collapsed on the football pitch. Before taking any further positions or drawing any conclusions, the family will await the investigation that is currently being carried out by personal injury lawyer Mr John Beer.

    “The family would like to express, however, that it is very shocked by the news that a heart condition was detected as early as 2014 during a medical examination of Abdelhak by the KNVB. The family only recently learned about this when they read the medical file that Ajax provided to them – after repeated and explicit requests.

    “The family is convinced that Abdelhak himself had no knowledge of this condition. If the family had been aware of the heart condition at an earlier stage, they would have immediately insisted on thorough follow-up examinations, a second opinion and regular follow-up tests, in order to assess the nature and risks of such a condition in combination with his intensive sporting activities.

    “The NRC Handelsblad article states, quoting a ‘person involved’, that Abdelhak was informed of the heart condition in 2014. In the light of the information currently available, the family attaches no credence to this and notes that the parents of Abdelhak, who was 17 years old at the time, were never informed, either in writing or orally. In the family’s opinion both the KNVB and Ajax could have been expected to explicitly inform the parents about this and to jointly agree on a follow-up process. The family greatly regrets that this never happened.

    “The family is also awaiting the results of the investigation and the outcome of the ongoing discussions with Ajax. No further statements will be made in the meantime. The media are requested politely but firmly not to contact the family.”


  • Holland: Dutch FA and Ajax knew in April 2014 that Abdelhak Nouri had heart problems

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Dutch FA and Ajax knew in April 2014 that Abdelhak Nouri had heart problems and both the KNVB and Ajax kept quiet about this and did not inform his family, Dutch newspaper NRC reported today!


  • Transfers: Stoke City and Watford Spy Tempting Opportunity To Snap Up Morocco Under-19 Star

    (InsideFutbol.com) Stoke City and Watford are both keen on Bordeaux youngster Yassine Benrahou.

    The 18-year-old attacking midfielder is currently plying his trade in the Ligue 1 club's reserve team, but his potential has caught the eye of the two Premier League clubs, according to French sports daily L'Equipe.

    Benrahou is only on a youth contract at Bordeaux, making him an even more attractive proposition; any club snapping him up would only have to pay a training compensation fee to Bordeaux.

    A Morocco Under-19 international, Benrahou's future could lie outside France if Stoke or Watford firm up their interest.

    Bordeaux have yet to step on the accelerator to hand the midfielder a professional deal and as such are at risk of losing him.

    The midfielder has also represented France at youth level.

  • CHAN 2018: Morocco federation to dish out hefty bonuses in CHAN 2018

    (Africanfootball.com) The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) will reportedly dish out bonuses of 200,000 DH (over US$21,000) to each player if the Atlas Lions progress through the group stage of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

    Moroccan daily Al Ahdath Al Maghribia has reported these bonuses in its Thursday edition, adding that the figure will increase to 300,000 DH if Jamal Sellami’s side make it to the final four of the competition.

    Al Ahdath Al Maghribia cite an unnamed source close to the FRMF and also claim that the organisation’s president Fouzi Lekjaa has promised an even larger amount of money if the host nation’s team win the 2018 CHAN.

    Such bonuses are not unusual for the FRMF, who last year awarded each player of their locally-based national side 120,000 and 250,000 for defeating Egypt home and away in CHAN qualifiers.

    This was before Kenya was stripped of its hosting status and Morocco were appointed as the new tournament hosts.

    The FRMF also reportedly awarded Herve Renard’s full national team players 300,000 DH each for their quarterfinal showing at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, and 1,000,000 DH each for their qualification to the 2018 World Cup.

  • CAF Awards: Wydad Casablanca named Club of the year and four Moroccans in Best XI

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Wydad Casablanca was named CAF Club Of The Year 2017 while four Moroccan players were named in Best XI selection on Thursday. The four players are Karim El Ahmadi, Mohamed Ounnajem, Achraf Bencherki and Khalid Boutaib.

  • CHAN 2018: Morocco squad list unveiled!

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Coach Jamal Sellami has unveiled his official selection for the CHAN tournament due to be held in Morocco between Jan 13th and Feb 4th.

    Here's the squad list:

    -- Goalkeepers

    Anas Zniti (RCA)

    Abdelali Mhamdi (RSB)

    Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti (IRT)

    -- Defenders

    Mohamed Nahiri (WAC)

    Hamza Semmoumi (FUS)

    Jawad Yamiq (RCA)

    Marouane Hadhoudhi (DHJ)

    Badr Banoune (RCA)

    Nayef Aguerd (FUS)

    Abdeljalil Jbira (RCA)

    Zakaria Hachimi (WAC)

    -- Midfielders

    Yahia Jabrane (HUSA)

    Mehdi Berrahma (AS FAR)

    Salaheddine Saidi (WAC).

    Walid El Karti (WAC).

    Abdelilah Hafidi (RCA).

    Badre Boulehroud (FUS).

    -- Forwards

    Ayoub Nanah (DHJ)

    Ayoub Kaabi (RSB)

    Achraf Bencharki (WAC)

    Ismail Haddad (WAC)

    Ahmed Hamoudane (IRT)

    Zakaria Hadraf (RCA)

  • Transfers: Rumoured Leeds United target Mimoun Mahi set to leave Groningen

    Reported Leeds United target out of the Netherlands, Mimoun Mahi, appears to be have played his last match for FC Groningen, and could be on his way to England.

    Mahi is a 23 year-old forward who can play on either the wing, as a striker, or as an attacking midfielder. He’s had a bit of a down year after having issues at the club, so it’s not surprising that he and the club would be interested in having him move on. In addition to Leeds, Nottingham Forest and a few other English clubs are said to be interested in the Moroccan international.

    Groningen’s director, Hans Nijland, has told outlets in the Netherlands that it’s best for both the club and the player if Mahi leaves the club in January, and this comes after Mahi himself has said in the press that he has already played his last match for the club. He’s appeared 16 times in the league for Groningen, scoring six goals and grabbing 3 assists.

    Mahi joined FC Groningen from Sparta Rotterdam in 2014, and has had a pretty decent goal scoring record for Groningen. He scored 17 goals and had four assists in 32 league appearances during the 2016-17 season, and had five goals in 13 appearances the year before. In total, he’s appeared 100 times for Groningen, scoring 30 goals and chipping in another 11 assists.

    Mahi has represented Morocco at the senior level, appearing twice and scoring one goal after representing for the Netherlands at youth levels.

    It’s no secret that Leeds are looking for some reinforcements up front after the club has been using Kemar Roofe up front almost exclusively after Hamburger SV loanee Pierre-Michel Lasogga has been injured and appeared almost comically unfit against Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day. Does this seem like a deal that Leeds would go after? It kind of does. I’d rate this one better than average.


  • Transfers: Mounir El Hamdaoui on trial with FC Twente

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Former Morocco international striker Mounir El Hamdaoui (33) is on trial with Dutch Eredivisie side FC Twente in the hope to earn a contract.

    El Hamdaoui who shined with AZ and played with Ajax is training with FC Twente hopefuls since Wednesday.

  • CHAN 2018: Morocco kick off training camp for African Nations Championship

    (Xinhua) -- The Moroccan football team started on Monday their training camp for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) scheduled to begin in the north African kingdom on January 13.

    A total of 26 players are taking part in this training for the upcoming biennial Championship for African players based in their domestic leagues.

    The majority of the players belong to Casablanca rivals, namely 2017 African Champions Leagues holders Wydad and Raja.

    During this competition, Morocco will play in Group A along with Guinea, Sudan and Mauritania in CHAN.

    After two empty-handed participations, Morocco aims to lift its first cup in the CHAN this year.

  • NT: Morocco to Play a Friendly Against Serbia Ahead of 2018 World Cup

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – Another team was added to Morocco’s friendlies agenda ahead of the 2018 World Cup. The Moroccan national football team is set to play a friendly game against Serbia in London.

    In efforts to get the team ready for the 2018 World Cup, Morocco’s football manager Herve Renard is scheduling a series of friendly games with international teams. These friendlies are aimed at testing and evaluating the team’s weaknesses and strengths. The match against Serbia will be played in London. The date for the game was not yet scheduled.

    In March, Morocco is also set to play a friendly against Uzbekistan in Casablanca.

    Morocco has chosen the Uzbek team as its style of play and tactics are similar to those of Morocco’s World Cup first opponent, Iran. On December 1, Morocco was placed in group B along with Iran, Spain and Portugal. The Atlas Lions will play against Iran on June 15.

    Before the tournament’s final draw on December 1 in Moscow, Moroccan daily newspaper Assabah reported that Morocco’s team manager, Herve Renard, wanted his team to play against European and Latin American squads to evaluate the Lions’ abilities.

    Earlier this year, speculation were spread by international media that the Moroccan team would play two friendlies against Scotland and Argentina.

    Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF), said in an interview with Moroccan sports channel Arriyadia that Moroccan squad will face Argentina in a friendly in Agadir next March.

    FRMF was also wishing for a friendly against the Belgian national football team, but her request was declined by the Belgian football federation.

    In December 2017, Youssef Hijoub, a Moroccan FIFA agent, has said that the Belgian team declined FRMF’s invitation due to security concerns.

    Speaking in a TV program featured by French news channel France24, Hijoub said that the Belgian authorities refused friendlies against countries of North Africa, including Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria in order to avoid all security threats.


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