While a bad joke, the comment suggests that many in Egypt consider Morocco’s Lions as one of the toughest challenges standing in the way of the Pharaohs’ CAN 2019 aspirations.
Rabat – Ahmed Shobair, a former Egyptian football star who now hosts one of Egypt’s most popular football shows, has made a bad joke about Morocco’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) prospects. The Egyptian said that he wishes Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech had been injured.
Speaking about what to expect from each of the CAN contenders on his “Malaab on” show aired on ON Sport, Shobair asked his guest which Moroccan player would be unavailable for the rest of the season due to a serious injury.
The guest correctly answered the trivia question. He pointed out that Achraf Hakimi, who recently suffered a metatarsal injury, is set to miss the remainder of the season with his German club, Dortmund, as well as his national team heading to Egypt for CAN in the summer.
Shobair commented, however, that he wished Hakim Ziyech had sustained the injury instead of Hakimi.
Revengeful for Real Madrid or worried for Egypt?
Since moving to Ajax in 2016, Ziyech has established himself as an invaluable starter. The 26-year old attacking midfielder feels comfortable in almost all positions demanding creativity and technical ease.
His consistently stellar performances with club and country have won him a good reputation, with many considering him as the creative mastermind of coach Herve Renard’s attack-minded Atlas Lions.
Shobair, however, a diehard Real Madrid fan, is said to be holding grudges against the Moroccan player for his role in the 4-1 home humiliation of the Spanish club during their Champions League second leg with Dutch club Ajax.
Ziyech scored Ajax’s first goal in what many Real Madrid supporters will remember as the team’s most spirit-crushing Champions League defeat in decades.
But the Egyptian’s comments did also carry a significant echo to the upcoming 2019 CAN to be played in Egypt between June 21 and July 19.
Shobair’s comments came in the wake of the CAN 2019 draw.
Morocco has been drawn in the competition’s “group of death,” while Egypt features in a fairly playable Group A along with Congo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. But the prospects of a Morocco vs. Egypt game remain open for the later stages.
Based on their current FIFA standings, past CAN records, and recent matches, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, and Algeria are largely considered to be the tournament’s favorites.