Football

Morocco coach trims squad for Burkina Faso and Niger friendlies

Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has named his final 27-man squad for friendly games against Burkina Faso and Niger in September.

Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has named his final 27-man squad for friendly games against Burkina Faso and Niger in September.

The Bosnian coach, who took over from Herve Renard on August 15, initially named 46 players to be assessed, but has now trimmed that down for next month’s friendlies.

Adel Taarabt is in line to make his first Morocco appearance in five years after retaining his place in the team. The Benfica playmaker last featured for the national team in a friendly against Gabon in March 2014.

Standard Liege midfielder Mehdi Carcella has also earned a recall to the side after missing out on the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The biggest omission from the squad sees Mehdi Benatia left out of the group of 27 players. The pair of Mbark Boussoufa and Karim El Ahmadi were also not selected.

The trio of Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui and Youssef En-Nesyri have been left out of the squad to allow them to feature for the U23 side which faces Mali in an Olympic qualifier.

A win over the West Africans in the two-legged affair will see the young Lions progress to the U23 Africa Cup of Nations which will decide the nations that will feature at the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Halilhodzic’s Morocco side will play Burkina Faso and Niger at Stade de Marrakech, Morocco on September 6 and 10, respectively.

Morocco squad:

Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Malaga, Spain), Yassine Bounou (Gerona, Spain), Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti (Wydad Casablanca), Anas Zniti (Raja Casablanca)

Defenders: Omar Boutaib (Raja Casablanca), Fouad Chafik (Dijon, France), Issam Chebake (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Badr Banoun (Raja Casablanca), Jawad Yamiq (Genoa, Italy), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Abdelhamid Yunis (Reims, France), Abdelkarim Baadi (Hassania Agadir), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce, Turkey)

Midfielders: Youssef Ait Bennasser (St Etienne, France), Soufian Amrabat (Hellas Verona, Italy), Mehdi Bourabia (Sassuolo, Italy), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray, Turkey), Walid El Karti (Wydad Casablanca), Mehdi Oubila (HUSA)

Forwards: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Nordin Amrabat (Al Nasr, Saudi Arabia), Adel Taarabt (Benfica, Portugal), Walid Azaro (Al Ahly, Egypt), Rachid Alioui (Angers, France), Mehdi Carcela (Standard Liege, Belgium), Amine Harit (Schalke, Germany), Soufiane Boufal (Southampton, England)

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