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Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, May 16 2019 06:54PM

(Goal.com) The Morocco internationals played key roles during the 2018-19 season as the Sons of Gods completed a domestic double


Hakim Ziyech has been named Ajax’s Player of the Year and his compatriot Noussair Mazraoui got the Talent of the Year award.


Coach Erik ten Hag made the announcement, on behalf of the supporters, during the end of season ceremony in Amsterdam on Thursday.


Ziyech and Mazraoui helped Ajax end their five-year wait for a league title on Wednesday, and they also played a part in Ajax's Dutch Cup triumph.


Ziyech impressed the world with his outstanding performances for Ajax during the Uefa Champions League, inspiring them to the semi-finals where they eventually lost to Tottenham Hotspur on the away goals rule.


During the 2018-19 season, Ziyech contributed 19 goals and 16 assists in 43 outings across all competitions while Mazraoui provided four goals and an assist in 42 matches.


Ziyech’s future at the Johan Cruyff Arena remains uncertain with several European clubs including Bayern Munich and Real Madrid reported to be targeting a summer move for him.


Next month, the duo are expected to play crucial roles for Morocco at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.


The Atlas Lions have been drawn in Group D against Namibia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.

By The Atlas Lions, May 6 2019 11:00AM

By Mirror


EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham rivals Ajax's Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui won't eat or drink during daylight hours for four days in run-up to Champions League semi decider


Ajax stars Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui have told the club that they are going to fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.


But Dutch fitness guru Raymond Verheijen has warned the pair, who will not be consuming any food or liquids during daylight hours from Sunday, that they will suffer physically at a crucial stage of the season for Treble-chasing Ajax.


The Amsterdam side face Willem II in the Dutch Cup Final on Sunday, then host Tottenham on Wednesday night in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final they lead 1-0 and are ahead of PSV Eindhoven only on goal difference at the top of the Eredivisie with two games to go.


Verheijen said: “It would be irresponsible if Ziyech and Mazraoui stick to the fasting requirements of Ramadan at this stage of the season. Ajax’s situation is extreme - everyone is aware of that.


“The players’ bodies will be deregulated, as they will be changing a pattern of training and diet of the past 11 months.


“If you do this now, in the ultimate performance weeks of the season, it is like throwing a spanner in a wheel. Their blood sugar level will be lower - and that means less and less energy. Not only does that make athletes less alert, it will also send weaker signals to the muscles of the body.”


Ziyech played all but three minutes of last week's first leg in north London, while Mazraoui came on as a substitute just after the hour.


Verheijen added: “The sun sets on Wednesday night at 21.18 in local time and the second leg of the semi-final kicks off at 21.00. You can’t play without eating before the game. And what about if this match goes to extra time, with Tottenham leading 1-0?


“I expect the players to realise that this is almost impossible for them.”


Ajax coach Erik ten Hag refuses to ask any of his squad to put their fitness needs ahead of their religious beliefs. He said: “It is the choice of my players. I leave this entirely up to them."

By The Atlas Lions, May 5 2019 08:42PM

(Goal.com) The African stars were on parade at Feyenoord Stadium as the Sons of Gods lifted their ninth Cup title on Sunday


Morocco duo Hakim Ziyech, Noussair Mazraoui and Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana helped Ajax win the Dutch Cup with a 4-0 win over Willem II.


Ziyech provided an assist for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to double Ajax's lead a minute after Daley Blind opened the scoring in the 38th minute.


After the restart, Huntelaar bagged his brace in the 67th minute before Mazraoui assisted Rasmus Kristensen for the fourth goal in the 76th minute.


Ziyech was later replaced by David Neres in the 58th minute as Onana kept a clean sheet for the Amsterdam outfit.


The trio will hope to maintain their fine form when Ajax host Tottenham Hotspur for the return fixture of their Uefa Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.


Ziyech and Mazraoui are expected to play a part in Morocco’s campaign at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.


The Atlas Lions have dates set against Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Namibia in Group D while Onana’s Cameroon have been drawn against Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Benin in Group F.

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, Nov 12 2018 08:46AM

The Morocco international extended his goalscoring run in the Dutch Eredivisie with an effort at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion


Hakim Ziyech contributed a goal and an assist as Ajax thrashed Excelsior 7-1 on Sunday.


The 25-year-old maintained his fine form for the Johan Cruyff Arena outfit with his fifth goal in his last six league outings.


In the 79th minute, the Atlas Lions’ playmaker benefitted from Nicolas Tagliafico's assist to register his seventh league goal of the season before setting David Neres up for Ajax's last goal in the encounter.


Ziyech, Noussair Mazraoui and Andre Onana who made Goal Africa Team of the Month for October were on parade for Erik ten Hag's men as they help extend the unbeaten run to 11 games across all competitions.


Ajax, placed second in the Dutch top-flight standings, continue to pile pressure on leaders PSV.





By The Atlas Lions, Nov 9 2018 07:45AM

Around 5 years ago, nobody would have expected Morocco to qualify for the world cup. Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire were the powerhouses of African football, possessing the likes of Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba, but as time progressed the Moroccans have slowly established a competitive squad. Part of the reason for their recent success has been the emergence of young Moroccan players in Europe's top flight leagues.


Achraf Hakimi, born in Madrid, joined Real Madrid's youth set-up at the tender age of 8 and made his professional debut for the club 11 years later. Zinedine Zidane decided to call up the youngster to the Los Blancos squad as a backup for Dani Carvajal, and he quickly impressed all with his defensive skills when needed. The 20-year-old is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund, where he already has 3 assists.


Hakim Ziyech, a more prominent Moroccan player, has graced the Eredivisie with his presence. The Dutch-Moroccan player rose through Heerenveen's youth academy before going on to be a vital player in the first team. Just 25 years old, Ziyech is already one of Ajax's star players, scoring 22 goals in just over 70 club appearances.


Another Moroccan rising through Ajax's first team set-up is Noussair Mazraoui. Born in Liederdrop, Mazraoui made over 50 appearances for Jong Ajax (Ajax's youth team) before breaking into the professional squad. This season, Mazraoui has become the club's starting right-back and has even gone on to score a goal against Benfica in the Champions League.


Although not very young in terms of a footballing career, the center-back duo of Romain Saïss and Medhi Benatia have been tearing it up in Europe. Saïss roamed around France, representing Le Havre and Angers SCO before becoming an integral part of Wolverhampton Wanderer's EFL Championship win and promotion to the Premier League.


Benatia, on the other hand, racked up just about 80 appearances for Udinese before spells at Roma, Bayern Munich, and Juventus established him as one of the world's best defenders.


Head coach Hervé Renard certainly has a lot of potential and experienced players at his disposal, and the Moroccan team should be strong contenders for next year's Africa Cup of Nation tournament in Cameroon.



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