Morocco suffer injury concerns ahead of round of 16 clash against South Africa

The Atlas Lions could be missing key players when they take on South Africa in the second round of the 2023 AFCON

As Morocco prepares for a pivotal Africa Cup of Nations last-16 encounter against South Africa, the team faces a series of unfortunate injury setbacks. 

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has taken decisive action following the incidents that occurred during the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) fixture between Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Coach Walid Regragui disclosed that two key players may not be available for the crucial knockout match due to injuries. 

Injury Woes for Morocco

In the lead-up to their crucial Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash against South Africa, Morocco is facing significant setbacks due to injuries. 

Coach Regragui revealed the unfortunate news that Sofiane Boufal, a key player for Morocco, will be unavailable for the match. Additionally, another essential attacker, Hakim Ziyech, may also miss the game due to injury concerns.

Sofiane Boufal’s Injury

According to Reuters, Sofiane Boufa, who played a pivotal role in Morocco’s journey to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar just 14 months ago, suffered an injury during a training session over the weekend. Regragui expressed his disappointment, stating, “I think his Cup of Nations is over, and so we’ve lost an important player.” 

The injury was described as a muscle injury that is likely to rule Boufal out for the remainder of the tournament. While Regragui held out a glimmer of hope for a miraculous recovery, he acknowledged the complexity of Boufal’s current situation.

Hakim Ziyech’s Uncertain Status

Hakim Ziyech, the Moroccan attacker who scored the crucial first-half winner in their recent 1-0 victory against Zambia, is also dealing with injury concerns. Ziyech was forced to leave the field at halftime in that match due to a sore ankle. 

Regragui mentioned that a decision regarding Ziyech’s participation will be made right before the match. Despite the risks involved, the coach emphasized the importance of having their top players on the field and noted that it would be disrespectful to underestimate South Africa or the game of football itself.

Morocco’s Pre-Tournament Expectations

Morocco entered the Africa Cup of Nations as one of the favorites to win the tournament. They performed well in the group stage, finishing at the top of their section. 

However, the unexpected setbacks with key players like Boufal and the uncertainty surrounding Ziyech’s availability have added an element of unpredictability to Morocco’s campaign.

South Africa – A Formidable Opponent for Morocco

South Africa, their opponents in the last-16 clash, finished as runners-up in their Group E. Notably, they are the only team to have defeated Morocco in their last 12 matches since the World Cup. Both Morocco and South Africa were part of the same qualifying group for the tournament in Ivory Coast, making this matchup even more intriguing.

Morocco faces a challenging situation with injuries to key players as they prepare to take on South Africa. The outcome of the match remains uncertain, but Morocco remains determined to overcome these setbacks and advance in the tournament.


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