AFCON Preview: Morocco

The next team in our series of AFCON preview are The Atlas Lions. Morocco have been talked up as one of the favorites going into the tournament in Cameroon. We spoke with Benjamin Hajji to find more about the team.

What are you expecting from Morocco in this tournament? What is a realistic target?

I’m expecting Morocco to be as solid as we’ve been in qualifiers. Strong defensive block and hopefully enough power up front to score the necessary goals. Despite not always playing great football under Vahid Halilhodzic, we have decent results to show for and head into the AFCON unbeaten in official matches since the 2018 World Cup (not counting penalty loss to Benin).

A realistic target would be the semi-finals. On paper, we don’t have the strongest squad, but the coach has managed to put together a hard-working and well-structured team. We should go through from the group comfortably and after that, anything can happen.

Which player in the team is the most important?

Achraf Hakimi is obviously the biggest name and he will be crucial on that right-hand side. But for me it has to be captain Romain Saïss. He has barely set a foot wrong in a Morocco shirt since 2017 and is the silent leader we need at the back. Special mention to Sofyan Amrabat as well, who is doing the job of two players in that holding midfielder position.

Which other nations do you think will be the toughest opponents?

You can’t ignore Senegal. I just have the feeling that this might be their year. They have the strongest core in the tournament, with Mendy in goal, Koulibaly at the back, Gana in the middle, and Mané leading the attack. Aliou Cissé has also been leading this team for a long time and they’ve managed to keep most of the key players from both the 2018 WC and 2019 AFCON. Apart from them, you have to mention Algeria who are yet to lose a match under Djamel Belmadi since they last won the tournament. Behind those two it’s fairly even between several sides, Morocco included.

Tell us about your coach and his playing style.

All about balance. Vahid aims to control the game, but without sending too many players forward. We are usually playing in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 with wingers who drift inside and full-backs running on the overlap. Especially on the right, where Ilias Chair finds space in the middle while Hakimi keeps width. We are dangerous on set-pieces and counter-attacks.

What do you think of the fact that it was reported the Morocco team brought its own food, water, and staff to the tournament? What’s the reason?

Personally, I think it’s a story that’s been blown out of proportion. Most of the things listed are completely standard for any national team taking themselves seriously. The football federation doesn’t want to leave anything up to chance and aims to provide the best conditions possible for the players to do well. It’s as simple as that.

Betking EthPL

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Round 1
30 Sep 2022 13:00
WOLKITE
1
0
AMK
30 Sep 2022 16:00
BAHIRDAR
2
1
ELCETRIC
1 Oct 2022 13:00
MEDIN
1
7
GIORGIS
1 Oct 2022 16:00
DIRE
2
2
SIDAMA
2 Oct 2022 13:00
DICHA
0
0
BUNNA
2 Oct 2022 16:00
HAWASSA
1
2
TAFO
3 Oct 2022 13:00
FASIL
2
1
ADAMA
3 Oct 2022 16:00
MECHAL
1
0
HOSSANA
Round 2
5 Oct 2022 13:00
BAHIRDAR
0
1
WOLKITE
5 Oct 2022 16:00
AMK
3
4
MEDIN
6 Oct 2022 13:00
ELCETRIC
0
1
GIORGIS
6 Oct 2022 16:00
TAFO
1
1
DIRE
7 Oct 2022 13:00
HOSSANA
4
1
SIDAMA
7 Oct 2022 16:00
ADAMA
2
0
MECHAL
10 Oct 2022 16:00
BUNNA
1
2
HAWASSA
4 Dec 2022 16:00
DICHA
1
0
FASIL
Round 3
12 Oct 2022 16:00
MECHAL
1
2
AMK
13 Oct 2022 13:00
DICHA
1
1
ELCETRIC
13 Oct 2022 16:00
SIDAMA
1
5
GIORGIS
14 Oct 2022 13:00
MEDIN
4
1
TAFO
14 Oct 2022 16:00
HAWASSA
0
1
ADAMA
15 Oct 2022 13:00
DIRE
1
3
HOSSANA
15 Oct 2022 16:00
WOLKITE
0
1
BUNNA
29 Oct 2022 16:00
FASIL
0
0
BAHIRDAR
Round 4
18 Oct 2022 13:00
ADAMA
1
2
GIORGIS
18 Oct 2022 16:00
WOLKITE
3
4
HAWASSA
19 Oct 2022 13:00
AMK
0
0
HOSSANA
19 Oct 2022 16:00
BAHIRDAR
1
1
DIRE
20 Oct 2022 13:00
BUNNA
1
0
SIDAMA
20 Oct 2022 16:00
ELCETRIC
3
0
TAFO
21 Oct 2022 13:00
FASIL
0
1
MECHAL
21 Oct 2022 16:00
DICHA
0
1
MEDIN
Round 5
24 Oct 2022 13:00
HAWASSA
2
2
DIRE
24 Oct 2022 16:00
ELCETRIC
2
2
ADAMA
25 Oct 2022 13:00
WOLKITE
0
1
SIDAMA
25 Oct 2022 16:00
FASIL
1
0
GIORGIS
26 Oct 2022 13:00
BAHIRDAR
2
0
TAFO
26 Oct 2022 16:00
MECHAL
1
2
MEDIN
27 Oct 2022 13:00
DICHA
0
1
HOSSANA
27 Oct 2022 16:00
BUNNA
2
0
AMK
Round 6
4 Nov 2022 16:00
MEDIN
2
3
BAHIRDAR
4 Nov 2022 19:00
DIRE
3
1
BUNNA
5 Nov 2022 16:00
MECHAL
0
1
DICHA
5 Nov 2022 19:00
WOLKITE
2
1
ELCETRIC
6 Nov 2022 16:00
HAWASSA
2
0
FASIL
6 Nov 2022 19:00
GIORGIS
1
1
AMK
7 Nov 2022 16:00
SIDAMA
2
0
ADAMA
7 Nov 2022 19:00
HOSSANA
1
0
TAFO
Round 7
10 Nov 2022 16:00
GIORGIS
2
2
WOLKITE
10 Nov 2022 19:00
DIRE
1
1
MECHAL
11 Nov 2022 16:00
MEDIN
2
0
ELCETRIC
11 Nov 2022 19:00
SIDAMA
0
1
HAWASSA
12 Nov 2022 16:00
AMK
-
-
BAHIRDAR
12 Nov 2022 19:00
HOSSANA
-
-
FASIL
13 Nov 2022 16:00
ADAMA
-
-
BUNNA
13 Nov 2022 19:00
TAFO
-
-
DICHA
Round 8
16 Nov 2022 16:00
HOSSANA
2
2
HAWASSA
16 Nov 2022 19:00
SIDAMA
0
4
MEDIN
17 Nov 2022 16:00
ADAMA
1
2
DICHA
17 Nov 2022 19:00
GIORGIS
0
0
MECHAL
18 Nov 2022 16:00
BUNNA
1
3
BAHIRDAR
18 Nov 2022 19:00
DIRE
2
1
ELCETRIC
19 Nov 2022 16:00
AMK
1
1
FASIL
19 Nov 2022 19:00
TAFO
0
3
WOLKITE
Round 9
22 Nov 2022 16:00
MECHAL
0
2
SIDAMA
22 Nov 2022 19:00
HAWASSA
0
3
GIORGIS
23 Nov 2022 16:00
MEDIN
1
3
DIRE
23 Nov 2022 19:00
ELCETRIC
2
4
BUNNA
24 Nov 2022 16:00
WOLKITE
0
0
HOSSANA
24 Nov 2022 19:00
DICHA
0
0
AMK
25 Nov 2022 16:00
FASIL
3
0
TAFO
25 Nov 2022 19:00
BAHIRDAR
1
0
ADAMA
Round 10
28 Nov 2022 16:00
MECHAL
1
1
ELCETRIC
28 Nov 2022 19:00
MEDIN
0
0
HAWASSA
29 Nov 2022 16:00
DIRE
2
2
WOLKITE
29 Nov 2022 19:00
SIDAMA
2
4
FASIL
30 Nov 2022 16:00
GIORGIS
3
0
DICHA
30 Nov 2022 19:00
HOSSANA
0
2
BAHIRDAR
1 Dec 2022 16:00
TAFO
2
2
BUNNA
1 Dec 2022 19:00
AMK
1
0
ADAMA
Round 11
6 Dec 2022 16:00
ADAMA
3
0
TAFO
6 Dec 2022 19:00
BAHIRDAR
0
0
GIORGIS
7 Dec 2022 16:00
ELCETRIC
2
2
AMK
7 Dec 2022 19:00
HAWASSA
0
2
MECHAL
8 Dec 2022 16:00
BUNNA
0
1
HOSSANA
8 Dec 2022 19:00
WOLKITE
1
2
MEDIN
10 Dec 2022 16:00
DICHA
-
-
SIDAMA
Postponed
10 Dec 2022 19:00
FASIL
-
-
DIRE
Round 12
10 Dec 2022 14:00
MECHAL
-
-
WOLKITE
10 Dec 2022 18:00
HOSSANA
-
-
ADAMA
11 Dec 2022 15:00
DIRE
-
-
DICHA
11 Dec 2022 18:00
SIDAMA
-
-
BAHIRDAR
12 Dec 2022 15:00
HAWASSA
-
-
ELCETRIC
12 Dec 2022 18:00
GIORGIS
-
-
BUNNA
13 Dec 2022 15:00
MEDIN
-
-
FASIL
13 Dec 2022 18:00
TAFO
-
-
AMK
Round 13
16 Dec 2022 15:00
BAHIRDAR
-
-
MECHAL
16 Dec 2022 18:00
ELCETRIC
-
-
HOSSANA
17 Dec 2022 15:00
FASIL
-
-
WOLKITE
17 Dec 2022 18:00
BUNNA
-
-
MEDIN
18 Dec 2022 15:00
ADAMA
-
-
DIRE
18 Dec 2022 18:00
DICHA
-
-
HAWASSA
19 Dec 2022 15:00
TAFO
-
-
GIORGIS
19 Dec 2022 18:00
AMK
-
-
SIDAMA
Round 14
22 Dec 2022 15:00
MECHAL
-
-
BUNNA
22 Dec 2022 18:00
FASIL
-
-
ELCETRIC
23 Dec 2022 15:00
HAWASSA
-
-
BAHIRDAR
23 Dec 2022 18:00
GIORGIS
-
-
HOSSANA
24 Dec 2022 15:00
MEDIN
-
-
ADAMA
24 Dec 2022 18:00
WOLKITE
-
-
DICHA
25 Dec 2022 15:00
SIDAMA
-
-
TAFO
25 Dec 2022 18:00
DIRE
-
-
AMK
Round 15
28 Dec 2022 15:00
HOSSANA
-
-
MEDIN
28 Dec 2022 18:00
BUNNA
-
-
FASIL
29 Dec 2022 15:00
AMK
-
-
HAWASSA
29 Dec 2022 18:00
TAFO
-
-
MECHAL
30 Dec 2022 15:00
GIORGIS
-
-
DIRE
30 Dec 2022 18:00
BAHIRDAR
-
-
DICHA
31 Dec 2022 15:00
ELCETRIC
-
-
SIDAMA
31 Dec 2022 18:00
ADAMA
-
-
WOLKITE

Standing Table

#
Player
Played
Goals
1
Kidus Giorgis
11
11
2
Wolkite Ketema
11
10
3
Fasil Kenema
9
6
4
Hawassa Ketema
9
5
5
Diredawa Ketema
9
5
6
Diredawa Ketema
10
5
7
Ethiopia Medin
9
4
8
Bahir Dar Ketema
10
4
9
Adama Ketema
10
4
10
Sidama Bunna
10
4

Competitions

competition logo
Ethiopian Higher League
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Ethiopian League 1
competition logo
Ethiopian Women's Higher League
competition logo
Ethiopian Womens Premier League
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