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The Atlas Lions

Les Lions de l'Atlas

Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 6 2018 03:10PM

(Africanfootball.com) AFC Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech may be regarded as one of the best on-field stars of the Eredivisie, but he has come in for criticism in regards to his dealings with the media.


The Moroccan playmaker has been branded dour and sullen for the way he comes across in interviews, which is a strange irony given that his playing style is so exciting.


Yet Ziyech’s teammates at both international and club level have come to the defence of the 25-year-old, insisting that his media persona hides a man with a great sense of humour.


"I sometimes hear people say that he should be happier, he would laugh too little in interviews, for example, then I think he does not have to be a clown, some feel the need to hang the clown in front of the camera. Is not that right?" Morocco teammate Nordin Amrabat told ELF Football.


"In addition, Hakim laughs enough. Believe me. He has a lot of humour," added Amrabat, whose words are echoed by Ziyech’s Ajax teammate and fellow Moroccan international Noussair Mazraoui.


"If you do not know what he is, Hakim will not give in,” explained the 21-year-old right-back.


“If he does not like something, he says so, he does not let himself play with him, and if he is attacked, he defends himself, and not everyone dares [to do this].


"He did, [and] unfortunately people wrongfully applied the label ‘arrogant’."


Ziyech is set to feature for Ajax in their Eredivisie clash away to PEC Zwolle on Saturday night.

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 6 2018 02:23PM

December 6 – The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has pulled out of the bidding race for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, saying it “will not compete with another Arabic country.” Morocco and South Africa remain as favourites to host the continent’s flagship competition.


Last week Cameroon were stripped of the tournament’s hosting rights over delays in preparations. CAF president Ahmad Ahmad revealed that the confederation would strive to “determine a new organising country by the end of the year.”


Egypt, Morocco and South Africa soon stepped forwards as potential hosts for the 24-team event. Cameroon, who won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations defeating Egypt 2-1 in the final, had been awarded the 16-team finals, but CAF then unilaterally increased the number of participants in July 2017 to 24 teams during a symposium held in Morocco.


EFA will however not bid to stage the tournament. “After an EFA meeting on Tuesday, we decided we will not make a bid for the next Afcon,” said EFA board member and spokesman Ahmed Megahed. “We will not compete with another Arabic country – this is an official decision.”


The decision leaves Morocco and South Africa, who have both confirmed an interest in hosting, as two remaining contenders in the bidding race. Egypt last hosted the tournament in 2006 when they won on home soil.


Earlier this year the Moroccans had stepped in to host the African Nations Championship, CHAN, after Kenya had been deemed unfit to host the tournament. Morocco, with their team of home-based players, won the tournament, which was largely considered a success. In June Morocco, however, lost out to the United States, Mexico and Canada for the 2026 World Cup hosting rights. It was the fourth time that the Moroccans had their World Cup dream thwarted.



By The Atlas Lions, Dec 5 2018 01:44PM

Algerian sports journalist Hafid Derradji has lambasted his country’s unreadiness to host sports events like the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN).


By Morocco World News


Rabat – The beIN Sports journalist Hafid Derradji, said that Algeria’s silence is proof that Algeria is not ready to host sports events, including the World Cup and CAN, due to lack of infrastructure and lack of world-class venues.


Derradji made his remarks during a phone interview on Algerian sports television program “Al Hassad Al Ryadi.”


He added that he feels sorry for his country for not even being able to host a “chess competition,” emphasizing that Morocco is “scoring positive points” in terms of infrastructure.


On November 30, Derradji said: “We said it already. Cameroon will not host CAN 2019. Morocco will host it and no one else.”


In 2017, Derradji mocked the Algerian football federation, andhe speculated that the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) will announce Morocco as the official host of the CAN, replace Cameroon.


The journalist sarcastically added that “[t]he Algerian president of the football federation, Khierdine Zetchi, announced days ago that Algeria is ready to replace Cameroon…. Good morning.”


Some of the speculation about CAFwas proved true, as it announced its decision to strip Cameroon ofthe right to host the African tournament.


CAN, also called AFCON, will take place June 15 to July 13, 2019. CAF has now launched a new bidding process to appoint another host for the African tournament.


Both Morocco and South Africa might try to seize the opportunity to host the event s after Cameroon’s failure to retainhosting rights due to delays in completing projects and building venues for 2019 CAN.

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 5 2018 01:42PM

By Morocco World News


After CAF’s decision to strip the CAN hosting rights from Cameroon, several African countries will now submit their bid as a replacement host.


Rabat – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) might consider Morocco as an alternative host to Cameroon. The head coach of the national football team, Herve Renard, believes that Morocco is the right choice to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).


Renard believes that Morocco is ready in terms of infrastructure to host the African tournament. The coach expressed his hope for Morocco to be designated as host country for CAN 2019 “even if it will add extra pressure.”


Cameroon lost eligibility to host the competition after inspections of the country’s sports venues revealed that it was not ready to host the tournament. CAF will now start a new bidding process to appoint another host for the CAN, which will take place from June 15 to July 17.


While Morocco repeatedly supported Cameroon’s bid before CAF made its decision, the North African country might compete with South Africa and other countries to host it.


Morocco’s successful experience in hosting the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) might help Morocco clinch the rights to host CAF’s flagship tournament.


Morocco’s Atlas Lions will take part in the CAF competition after a well deserved qualification.


Fouzi Lekjaa, head of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) said that although the national team has had several exceptional generations of teams, Morocco has not been able to win the CAN since 1976.


He added that Morocco’s Atlas Lions and coach Herve Renard have received criticism. Lekjaa then called on critics to stop the “sterile criticism. We trust Herve Renard who has brought a lot to the Atlas Lions.” He also called for unity and support for both the coach and team.


Morocco’s football team has delivered several solid performances, especially at the 2018 World Cup in their games against Portugal and Spain.


In the 2019 CAN qualifiers, Morocco also received applause from their fans after they “broke the curse” and beat Cameroon 2-0.

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 5 2018 01:37PM

By Morocco World News


It has been a good season for Moroccan rising star Achraf Hakimi. Hakimi topped CIES’ list as the best fullback in the European leagues this season.


Rabat – The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) has ranked Borussia Dortmund’s star Achraf Hakimi as the top fullback in the European leagues in the last three months.


With a score of 85.3, Hakimi outperformed several internationally renowned fullbacks, including Brazilian Juventus star Alex Sandro, who was ranked second with a score of 84.5.


Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich came third with a score of 83.9, while Joao Cancelo of Juventus was fourth with a score of 82.9.


Dortmund signed a 2-year loan for the Atlas Lion with Real Madrid in July.


The 20-year-old football player made his official debut at the Santiago Bernabeu in October 2017. He has since become one of Morocco’s key players and proved his worth alongside the Atlas Lions during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.


Dortmund is highly satisfied with Hakimi’s performance this season in the Bundesliga.


The managing director of the German football club, Hans-Joachim Watzke, announced Dortmund’s intention to convert Hakim’s loan contract to a permanent agreement after convincing Real Madrid.


After securing a deal with Paco Alcacer, who had been playing for Dortmund on loan from Barcelona, Watke said as Sport reported, “Dear Paco Alcacer, welcome to Borussia Dortmund … We hope to do the same thing with Achraf Hakimi, but it will not be easy.”


In February, CIES Football Observatory ranked the international footballer among Europe’s “50 most promising under-20 footballers.”

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 3 2018 05:29PM

(Associated Press) DUBLIN — European soccer’s leadership is against Spain and Portugal combining with Morocco to bid for the 2030 World Cup.


UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, who has previously praised plans for a British Isles tournament, said Monday he would not back a nation from another continent being involved in a European bid.


“I’m not in favor of cross-confederation bids,” Ceferin said.


Ceferin expressed irritation that politicians were involved in announcing bidding plans. Spain’s prime minister floated the possibility of bidding with Portugal and Morocco, while a political summit was used by leaders of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia to declare their intentions to enter a joint proposal.


“Someone should say once to the politicians it’s not up to them to speak if they will be hosts of the Euros or the World Cup or not,” Ceferin said. “I’ve seen many politicians saying we will be candidate for this and that ... for sports events they will have to speak to their national associations.”



The English Football Association is leading a feasibility study into a British Isles bid featuring Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. England is already hosting seven games, including the semifinals and final, at the continent-wide 2020 European Championship. England was confirmed Monday as the host of the Women’s European Championship in 2021.


“I will do whatever I can to have only one European bid for the World Cup,” Ceferin said, “because that raises the chances of Europe hosting the World Cup extremely.”


Europe just hosted the tournament in Russia, but the 2022 World Cup is in Qatar and the 2026 edition is in North America.


South America is looking to the centenary World Cup in 2030, with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay already announcing a joint proposal. But in a setback to the bid, CONMEBOL has been forced to move the twice-postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final from Buenos Aires to Madrid because it cannot find anywhere safe enough in South America.



“It tells you a lot that we can organize (soccer) in Europe without any problems,” Ceferin said.

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