Time for a Herve Renard update and the latest news is that he has named his first Morocco squad for the two 2017 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers against Cape Verde. Now this is a tournament that Herve knows very well after winning it in 2012 with Zambia and 2015 with the Ivory Coast.
After trying his hand at club management earlier in the season with Lille in which it’s fair to say it didn’t work out after his sacking in November he’s now back in the comfort of the International arena where he will look to win this competition for the third time.
Although there is still some work to do as only the group winners are guaranteed automatic qualification. They are currently second in the group on Goal Difference to form side Cape Verde Islands (I own their National Shirt by the way so loyalties are definitely split for these two games) and will be looking to get group supremacy with two positive results later this week
Herve hasn’t mucked about and had named a bumper 34 man squad – not sure why he feels the need to call up so many players. I guess the obvious answer is too try and see as many players for the first time at once but I prefer my idea of they are all going to have a big party and maybe go to shisha bar after the first day’s training for some serious team bonding.
The 34-man squad also includes in-form Granada striker Youssef El-Arabi, Bayern Munich defender Mehdi Benatia and Schalke’s Younes Belhanda. Which bar Nordin Amrabat I must be honest are the only players I’ve actually heard of, so you’ll have to excuse my ignorance when it comes to the Moroccan squad. This is something I’m going to have to brush my knowledge up on
Here is the squad in full
Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia, Spain), Yassine Bounou (Real Zaragoza, Spain), Abdelali M’Hamdi (RSB Berkane)
Defenders: Mehdi Benatia (Bayern Munich, Germany), El Kaoutari (Reims, France), Issam Chebake (Le Havre, France), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid B, Spain), Nabil Dirar (Monaco, France), Marouane Da Costa (Olympiakos, Greece), Mohamed Oulhaj (Raja Casablanca), Achraf Lazaar (Palermo, Italy), Hamza Mendyl (Lille, France), Romain Saïss (Angers, France)
Midfielder: Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord , Netherlands), Mounir Obbadi (Lille, France), Younes Belhanda (Schalke, Germany), Abdelaziz Barrada (Marseille, France), Omar El Kaddouri (Napoli, Italy), Fayçal Fajr (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain), Youssef Aït Bennasser (Nancy, France), Nordin Amrabat (Watford, England), Mehdi Carcela-González (Benfica, Portugal), Hakim Ziyech (Twente, Netherlands), Mbark Boussoufa (Gent, Belgium), Walid El Karti (WAC)
Forwards: Khalid Boutaïb (GFC Ajaccio, France), Oussama Tannane (Saint-Etienne, France), Badi Aouk (HUSA), Morad Batna (FUS), Yacine Bamou (Nantes, France), Youssef El Arabi (Granada, Spain) Youssef Naciri (Malaga, Spain), Abdelghani Mouaoui (IRT), AbderRazak Hamadellah (El Jaish, Qatar)