Sunday 23 July 2017
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Kenya's sports minister Hassan Wario assured the CAF delegation that all five stadiums will be ready at least three months before the competition. The Confederation of African Football has said four out of five Kenyan stadiums fall short of standards for hosting next year's African Nations Championship (CHAN) and has given Kenya until June to upgrade them. An inspection team led by CAF vice-president Suketu Patel said a lot of work needs to be done, but insisted Kenya remained on track to host the international tournament, reserved for players featuring in their domestic league competitions.
(AFP (eng) 05/11/17)
A dramatic 95th-minute equaliser from Morocco against Cameroon (1-1) in the Islamic Solidarity Games football tournament in Baku on Thursday left both sides with some regrets. "I am not happy with the result, but I am satisfied with the determination the players showed to pull back level. They were resolute and showed a lot of willpower to get that goal", Morocco coach Jamal Sellami told AFP-Services. With four points, the north Africans moved one step closer to a place in...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
Tournament debutants Turkey opened their campaign at the Islamic Solidarity Games handball competition with a well-rounded 27-24 victory over Morocco in Baku on Tuesday. Morocco, who reached the quarter-finals in 2005, were unable to worry the Turks, inspired by high-flying captain Ramazan Done, who finished with eight goals. The game was tightly contested with keepers Alae Laaroussi and Taner Gunay shining at both ends to keep the scoreline low at 12-8 in favour of Turkey at half-time. It took just...
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
Defending champions Morocco edged out Saudi Arabia 1-0 in their opening Group A clash at the Azal Arena, as the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games got underway in Baku on Monday. Morocco were by far the better side throughout and Zouheir El Moutaraji wasted a great opportunity early on, while Saudi keeper Habib Alwatyan made several second-half saves. But substitute Chouaib El Maftoul curled in a deserved winner with 14 minutes to play. It was the first action of the fourth...
(AFP (eng) 05/07/17)
Italian football has been hit by a second racist storm inside a week after Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia was insulted live on air during a live, post-match television interview with Italian state broadcaster Rai. Benatia, a Morocco international, was being interviewed following a 1-1 Serie A draw at home with city rivals Torino when it was cut embarrassingly short by what seemed like a studio technician's gaffe. As he was speaking to studio presenters about Juventus, Benatia heard a voice...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/17)
New African football chief Ahmad Ahmad gave his backing on Tuesday to a potential bid from Morocco to host the 2026 World Cup. The north African country has bid to host the global showpiece on four previous occasions but missed out on the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions. "We are convinced that Morocco could organise this competition just as was done by South Africa in 2010," said Ahmad, who was elected president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF)...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/17)
African Football Confederation (CAF) secretary-general Hicham El Amrani resigned on Sunday without giving an explanation. The 37-year-old Moroccan revealed his decision in a letter to African national football associations. His move is probably linked to the defeat of long-serving Cameroonian Issa Hayatou by Malagasy outsider Ahmad Ahmad in the CAF presidential election this month. El Amrani was a Hayatou loyalist, constantly defending his boss, who ruled African football for 29 years, against public and media criticism. He became secretary-general, initially...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/17)
Africa will host a Commonwealth Games one day despite the blow of Durban being stripped of hosting the 2022 edition, David Grevemberg, the chief executive of The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), told AFP. Durban lost the right to host the Games on Monday -- just 18 months after being awarded them -- when it failed to meet criteria laid down by the CGF, primarily over costs. "I wouldn't want to make a judgement call," Grevemberg told AFP on the sidelines...
(AFP (eng) 03/04/17)
Fourteen people were injured when rival football supporters clashed in the northern Moroccan town of Al-Hoceima on Friday, the interior ministry said. Footage posted by local residents on social media appeared to show skirmishes between groups of young people in the Mediterranean coastal town. "Two groups of football fans clashed near the stadium" in the city, said the ministry, which reported material damage and 14 people needing hospital treatment. It said the authorities intervened "to reestablish calm" and that arrests...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Up to 18 players at the just-completed Africa Cup of Nations could be involved in the new-look CAF Champions League when it kicks off this weekend. Among them is Georges Bokwe, one of two unused goalkeepers in the Cameroon squad that defeated Egypt in the final last Sunday in Gabon. Bokwe was kept out of the starting line-up by the consistent brilliance of Spain-based Fabrice Ondoa, who was included in the team of the tournament. But Bokwe is the first...
(AFP (eng) 01/30/17)
Mahmoud Kahraba's late goal allowed Egypt to beat Herve Renard's Morocco in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals on Sunday as they joined Ghana in completing the line-up for the last four. Kahraba came off the bench in the second half in Port-Gentil and stabbed home from inside the six-yard box in the 88th minute, just as extra time looked inevitable. The dramatic finish came after the Ayew brothers, Jordan and Andre, both scored to give Ghana a 2-1 win...
(AFP (eng) 01/28/17)
Herve Renard will be hoping to move a step closer to winning a third Africa Cup of Nations crown when he leads Morocco into a quarter-final against Egypt in Port-Gentil on Sunday evening. The dashing Frenchman eliminated the Ivory Coast, the side he led to the title in 2015, as Morocco made the knockout phase of a Cup of Nations for the first time since 2004. Also the architect of Zambia's unlikely triumph in Gabon in 2012, Renard's aim now...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/17)
Title-holders the Ivory Coast were dumped out of the Africa Cup of Nations Tuesday after a superb Rachid Alioui goal gave Herve Renard-coached Morocco a 1-0 win in Gabon. Clinching a quarter-finals place was particularly sweet for Frenchman Renard, the coach of the Ivorians when they won the biennial tournament two years ago. The blond, bronzed 48-year-old, wearing his lucky white shirt, hopes to become the first coach to win three Cup of Nations titles with three different countries. He...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/17)
Having guided the Ivory Coast to glory at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Herve Renard is now hoping to end his former side's defence of the trophy when they face his Morocco team on Tuesday. The script could not have been better written, with Renard's Morocco and the Elephants clashing in a winner takes all final Group C showdown in the northern Gabonese town of Oyem, kicking off at 2000 local time (1900 GMT). The Atlas Lions have not...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/17)
French coaches Herve Renard and Claude le Roy loom large over the key Africa Cup of Nations Group C clash between Morocco and Togo in Oyem Friday. Renard, a Cup of Nations winner with Zambia in 2012 and the Ivory Coast in 2015, was hired by Morocco last year and given a mandate to reach the semi-finals. Right now, a last-four place must seem a long way off for the blond, bronzed 48-year-old former Paris rubbish collector who always wears...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/17)
Defending champions the Ivory Coast and Morocco on Monday became just the latest strongly fancied teams to fail to deliver at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. The Ivorians were held 0-0 by Togo -- 21 places below them in the African rankings -- after a duel that produced little excitement for a small crowd in the northern town of Oyem. Morocco, also considered potential champions under twice Africa Cup-winning coach Herve Renard, paid for a goalkeeping blunder as...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/17)
Faycal Rherras from Scottish club Hearts will replace injured Sofiane Boufal in the Morocco Africa Cup of Nations squad, the tournament organisers said in Libreville Friday. The 23-year-old defender was born in Belgium to Moroccan parents and debuted for the North African kingdom in a drawn friendly international against Albania last year. Southampton midfielder Boufal was the fourth withdrawal from the Atlas Lions squad after Younes Belhanda, Noureddine Amrabat and Oussama Tannane. Morocco are in Group C, based in Gabonese...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Key midfielder Sofiane Boufal pulled out of Morocco's squad for the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday because of injury, joining influential playmaker Younes Belhanda on the sidelines. Southampton star Boufal, 23, had been at a training camp in the United Arab Emirates, where Morocco were preparing for a friendly on Monday against Finland. "Sofiane Boufal left the camp in Al-Ain this morning after the confirmation of his injury and his inability to take part in the African Cup," said...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/17)
Gabon witnessed one of the most sensational finishes to an Africa Cup of Nations tournament when no-hopers Zambia stunned the Ivory Coast to win the 2012 final. Zambia failed to qualify this time, but the Ivorians will be among the favourites again when the competition returns to the central African state with the first fixtures scheduled for Saturday. AFP Sport rates the chances of the 16 challengers for the $4 million (3.8 million euros) first prize (last three competitive results...

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