In just a few days the CAN will begin, nine members of Morocco’s national squad will participate in the continental cup for the first time.
By Ghayt Bennis
Rabat – Nine of the 23 players selected by Atlas Lions coach, Herve Renard, for the CAN 2019 will be competing in the African Cup for the first time.
The squad, including the nine novices, will take part in the 32nd CAN tournament, scheduled from June 21 to July 19 In Egypt.
The players new to CAN are : Hakim Ziyech, Oussama Idrissi, Abdelkarim Baadi, Mehdi Bourbiaa, Yunis Abdelhamid, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti, Soufiane Boufal, Achraf Hakimi.
The national team, marked by controversy since the exit of Abderazzak Hamdallah from the team’s training camp on Thursday, lost 1-0 to Gambia. The friendly match on June 12 was part of the team’s training for CAN 2019.
Speaking from Marrakech Stadium on Wednesday, June 13, the coach made a statement. “I have faith in my players and I am sure they will be playing a nice African Nations Cup in Egypt.”
“Friendly matches can be a very important deadline for this group, as the objective is to do better than the CAN 2017, that is, to reach at least the semifinals,” he added.
He finished by saying “Friendly matches are not the main thing for me, letting me know that the group, which was surprised by Gambia today, must know how to get through some difficult challenges.”
Very ambitious during the last World Cup, the Atlas Lions are keen to go far in this CAN 2019
In order to move towards winning the title, the team must first defeat Namibia, Ivory Coast and South Africa in Group D.
Over the past few months numerous football figures have commented on the strength of Morocco’s team going into the competition. Claude Le Roy, an experienced football manager and former player has predicted that Morocco and Senegal will be among the top teams in CAN 2019.
“The most prominent group is Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa and Namibia. This group is complicated but Morocco seems to me to be above the competition. Atlas Lions will have everything to gain and I think it’s a pretty comfortable situation,” he said.