2023 Afcon Qualifiers: Mazraoui, Harit, Taarabt return but no Ziyech in Morocco's squad for South Africa, Liberia clashes

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Achraf Hakimi Morocco 2022
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The Atlas Lions will first play in a friendly game before facing their group rivals in June

Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has named his squad for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against South Africa and Liberia.

The players named will first of all clash with the United States of America in a friendly game before facing Bafana Bafana and the West African nation in Afcon qualification matches.

The friendly game will take place on June 2, while the Afcon qualifiers have been scheduled for June 9 against South Africa before the Liberia game on June 13.

Achraf Hakimi of PSG, Sevilla’s goalkeeper Yassine Bounou – who recently became the first Moroccan to win the Zamora Trophy for the best goalkeeper in La Liga – and Sofyan Amrabat headline Halilhodzic’s squad.

Noussair Mazraoui – who last featured for the Atlas Lions in November 2020 - and Amine Harit, as well as Adel Taarabt, have been recalled to the team.

As Halilhodzic welcomed back the players who were cut for previously falling out with him, Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech, who retired from the national team at the age of 28, was not called up. The Bosnian coach then claimed Ziyech did not want to play as he feigned an injury.

The 2022 African World Cup representatives are in Group K where Zimbabwe, who were the fourth member, were disqualified alongside Kenya as they are suspended by Fifa.

Even before the qualifiers start, South African Football Association objected to Liberia’s plan to host their matches in Morocco.

Safa objected to that arrangement as they argue it goes against the principles of fair play because the Moroccan football association will travel less and enjoy the benefits of home ground advantage more than anyone in the group.

The federation further said the stadium challenges Liberia are facing should not be used to disadvantage other countries or give an unfair advantage over others as they scramble for tickets to participate in the next Afcon edition to be held in Ivory Coast.

Morocco’s Squad:

Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou, Munir El Kajoui, Anas Zniti.

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Defenders: Soufiane Chakla, Samy Mmaee, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui, Sofiane Alakouch, Adam Masina,

Midfielders: Faycal Fajr, Sofyan Amrabat, Aymen Barkok, Ilias Chair, Adel Taarabt, Azzedine Ounahi, Selim Amallah.

Forwards: Soufiane Rahimi, Amine Harit, Munir El Haddadi, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Youssef En-Nesyri, Ayoub El Kaabi, Tarik Tissoudali.

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