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Africa Cup: Morocco is “ready to have its say” despite the offensive setback


Yaounde: The Moroccan team will be “ready to speak their word” in the African Nations Cup in Cameroon, his manager confirmed ahead of the opening match against Ghana on Monday in Group C competitions, revealing that there are infections with the Corona virus in the team. Despite the difficulty of the task, the Moroccan team seeks to end a 46-year fast since their only crowning in the continental championship in 1976 in Ethiopia, when it enters its 33rd edition in Cameroon, in absence of his midfield star and Chelsea Englishman Hakim Ziyech for disciplinary reasons. The “Atlas Lions” will start their career at the “Ahmedou Ahidjo” stadium in the capital Yaounde against Ghana, the four-time champion, the last of which was in 1982, while Gabon will meet the Comoros in the other match of the group. Bosnian-French coach Vahid Halilhodzic confirmed during Sunday’s press conference on the sidelines of the match: “We have prepared enough and the preparation has been important, and I tell you that the current players who have been called up will have their say and will go far. in this competition to delight the Moroccan public in this great African event “. The team, however, suffered a setback with some of its players infected by the Corona virus, according to what the coach revealed, without specifying the names,” Unfortunately we have players infected by Covid-19 “. the media local players, this list of players is likely to include “Ayub Al-Kaabi (Hatay Sport), Munir Al-Hadadi (Seville, Spain) and Ryan Mayi (Fernitzvaros of Hungary), who missed Saturday’s training. Al- Kaabi and Mayi starred in World Cup qualifiers, scoring nine goals (5 for the first and 4 for the second). There are still doubts about the participation of the other Sevilla star, Youssef Al-Nusairi, after he performed individual exercises later on Saturday having felt pain in the knee, and his coach said: “I have no decision on Al-Nusairi’s participation or his absence from the first game, things are internal and belong to the national team.” The Moroccan team will therefore be seriously lacking in front line, a problem on which the coach did not hide his concern: “I am very worried about these important absences in offensive line, and this is a problem that all African teams have suffered, mainly due to injuries or because of the Corona epidemic, things are very complicated in light of these difficult circumstances. “Despite these concerns before the first game, the Moroccan team will certainly be at least a candidate to cross the first round. The leaders and champions of each group and the best 4 third-placed finishers in the six groups will advance to the round of 16. During the finals, the “Atlas Lions” count on players, the majority some of which are professionals in club Europeans, led by Paris Saint-Germain’s French star Ashraf Hakimi, and Sevilla striker Al-Nusairi and Al-Hadadi. But the absent more in view remains Ziyech and his former Ajax Amsterdam colleague, Nasir Mazraoui, whom Barcelona want to include in their ranks, after his remarkable brilliance with his Dutch side in this season, for disciplinary reasons. Halilhodzic insisted on continuing to exclude the Chelsea star after their relationship witnessed tensions that led to his exclusion from the national squad in the final matches of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Halilhodzic received technical direction from the Atlas Lions , succeeding the French Herve Renard in the summer of 2019 after a disappointing exit from the final round, for the last edition in Egypt, with a sensational defeat against Benin 1-4 on penalties, after the 1-1 in the original and extra time. Ghana are led by brilliant Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey and Leicester City defender Daniel Amarty. Senegal, Coulibaly and Mandi, Senegal, last second behind Algeria, will play against Zimbabwe in the second phase of the group, in Bafoussam, while Guinea will meet Malawi in the other match. Senegal will run for the head of the group and pass easily to the second round, but have been severely affected by the contagion of Kalidou Coulibaly, the Italian defender of Napoli, and Edouard Mendy, the English goalkeeper of Chelsea, with the Corona virus, according to what was revealed. Saturday by the Senegalese Football Federation. The Senegalese team had postponed their trip in Cameroon one day more than the date scheduled for this week, after it was confirmed that three players and six team members had been infected with the Corona. And the Senegalese delegation left without the three players who were placed in forty. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had confirmed that African teams will play their matches in the continental league, even though they only have 11 players. Where a player has to substitute the goalkeeper if no goalkeeper is available. If the team is not in able to play the match, will be declared the loser with a score of 0-2. The federation added that in “exceptional cases, the organizers of the continental championship will make the decision of the case”. Senegal and their strong arsenal, led by Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, will look to crown the continental title for the first time, after two defeats in final, in 2019 against Algeria (1-0) and in 2002 against Cameroon (0-0, 3-2 on penalties). “Let’s go in in this tournament with a lot of calm, a lot of confidence and above all with a lot of humility “, said coach Aliou Cisse on Sunday in Press conference. (AFP)


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