Rabat – New faces will be part of Morocco’s final squad for the upcoming friendlies that the Moroccan football team will play before the 2018 World Cup that begins in June.
Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum reported today that head football coach Herve Renard will call up new names for two scheduled friendlies, one against Serbia on March 23 in Turin and one against Uzbekistan on March 27 in Casablanca.
The coach’s list will almost certainly include Yassine Ayoub and Zakaria Labyad who both play for Dutch club FC Utrecht.
Labyad confirmed the news that he was called by Renard for the friendlies. The footballer told Dutch media outlet De Telegraaf, “I am very happy. My last international match was in 2015. It is hard for me to be with the Lions in the World Cup Russia 2018, but my selection for the friendlies is a good sign.”
Labyad also told De Telegraaf that Renard had contacted him after his team’s victory against PEC Zwolle on February 10.
Renard is also set to call up Ait Melloul-born Walid Azaro, a striker for Egypt’s Al-Ahly Cairo team.
The French coach is also expected to add other players, including defender Yunis Abdelhamid (Reims) and CHAN tournament standout Ayoub El Kaabi (RS Berkane).
Two Raja of Casablanca stars will likely also earn a spot on the roster. Center-back Badr Benoun and forward Zakaria Hadraf.
Wydad Casablanca’s Salaheddine Essaidi is also expected to be on Renard’s list.
Renard has only a couple months to think about his final squad for the World Cup tournament. After the friendlies are over, the final list of 23 players for each tournament team is due June 4.
When the tournament begins, the Atlas Lions will first battle Iran on June 15. Its second game on June 20 is against Portugal, while the final first-round match for Morocco will be against Spain on June 25.