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Countdown to African Nations Championship 2018 Begins

Countdown to African Nations Championship 2018 Begins
Casablanca's Mohammed V Stadium

Rabat – The big day has finally arrived for football fans. The Moroccan national football team will face Mauritania in the inauguration game of the African Nations Championship (CHAN 2018) in Mohammed VI stadium in Casablanca at 7.30 p.m local time.

The Moroccan Football Federation is expecting thousands of football fans to support the Atlas Lions in their first step towards conquering the African title. Moroccan singer Jannat Mahin will perform in the opening ceremony of the competition. Jannat made the announcement on her Facebook account.

In a pre-match conference on January 12, Morocco’s team manager Jamal Sellami said that his team needs to be careful during  Morocco-Mauritania match.

“The Mauritanian team will refuse no gift, if we offer them one.” Speaking about his team’s potential, Sellami said that “ we can go as far as possible in this competition.”

Sellami said that he had been following 90 local players to select the best footballers to represent Morocco in the African tournament.

Only 23 players have made it to Sellami’s list. Recalling Morocco’s football recent victories, the coach said that Morraocco is living its best era after Wydad of Casablanca clinched the African Champions League and Morocco qualified to the 2018 World Cup.

Sellami said that he seeks to gain the trust of Morocco’s national football team’s coach, Herve Renard and make the selection for the World Cup easier for him. “ We have to show him that he can count on us.”

For Fouzi Lekjaa, President of Moroccan Football Federation,  the Moroccan team “has no right to errors.”

“The Moroccan squad cannot afford to make any mistakes, especially as the team will play in Casablanca’s Mohammed VI stadium “in front of an exemplary public.”

Sunday will be marked by three matches. Guinea will play against Sudan at 2:30 p.m, the second match will pit Cote d’Ivoire against Namibia at 4:30 p.m and the third time pitting Zambia against Uganda will take placed at 7:30 p.m. local time.

Sellami called up 23 footballers from different clubs of the Moroccan football league. About half of the players come from Wydad of Casablanca and Raja of Casablanca, Morocco’s most successful football teams. The list of players is as follows.

  1. Anas Zniti: Goalkeeper (Raja Casablanca)
  2. Abdelali Mhadi: Goalkeeper (Renaissance Sportive de Berkane)
  3. Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti: Goalkeeper (Ittihad Tanger)
  4. Hamza Semmoumy: Defender(Fath Union Sport)
  5. Nayef Aguerd: Defender (Fath Union Sport)
  6. Jawad El Yamiq: Defender (Raja Casablanca)
  7. Badr Benoun: Defender (Raja Casablanca)
  8. Marouane Hadhoudi: Defender( Difaâ Hassani d’El Jadida)
  9. Mohamed Nahiri: Defender (Wydad Casablanca)
  10. Abdeljalil Jbira: Defender(Raja Casablanca)
  11. Zakaria El Hachimi: Defender(Wydad Casablanca)
  12. Yahya Jabrane: Midfielder(Hassania Union Sport d’Agadir)
  13. Badr Boulahroud: Midfielder (Fath Union Sport)
  14. Zakaria Hadraf: Midfielder(Raja Casablanca)
  15. Salaheddine Saidi: Midfielder (Wydad Casablanca)
  16. El Mehdi Barrahma: Midfielder AS FAR
  17. Ayoub Nanah: Midfielder (Fath Union Sport)
  18. Ayoub El Kaabi: Forward (Renaissance Sportive de Berkane)
  19. Walid El Karti: Forward( Wydad Casablanca)
  20. Ismail Haddad: Forward ( Wydad Casablanca)
  21. Ahmed Hammoudan: Forward (Ittihad Tanger
  22. Achraf Bencharki( Wydad Casablanca)
  23. Abdelilah Hafidi (Raja Casablanca)

CHAN brings together 16 national teams made up of players selected in their respective national championships. The fourth groups of the competition are as follows:

(Group A): Morocco, Guinea, Sudan and Mauritania.

(Group B): Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia, Uganda and Namibia.

(Group C): Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea.

(group D): Angola, Cameroon, Congo and Burkina Faso.

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