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The Atlas Lions

Les Lions de l'Atlas

Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 10 2019 01:17PM

(Morocco World News) After four decades without senior continental glory, is Morocco’s national squad finally ready to claim continental dominance at the Africa Cup of Nations?


Rabat – Moroccan football is “ambitious” and now has the squad it has been asking for for years.


The upbeat assessment came from an equally upbeat Fouzi Lekjaa, president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation. Lekjaa was speaking to Moroccan Radio Mars just hours after winning the title of the best African football federation president.


In the radio interview, Lekjaa laid out Morocco’s ambitions as its Atlas Lions grow in confidence and beauty.


Despite early elimination at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Morocco’s national team won plaudits for the quality of their game, especially the attacking philosophy they have been displaying under the guidance of coach Herve Renard.


Based on the team’s World Cup quality and recent displays in the CAN qualifiers, Lekjaa argued, “it would be natural if Morocco won this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).”


Despite being generally voted among Africa’s best football teams, the Atlas Lions’ history is still wanting. The country only has one continental crown to its name.


Morocco won the 10th CAN in 1976 in Ethiopia. The closest the country came to reliving that 1976 glory was in 2004, when hosts Tunisia beat Morocco 2-1 in the final. Since then, continental glory has eluded Morocco’s team, with the squad struggling to even reach the semi-final stages.


While Moroccan clubs—mainly Wydad and Raja—have been performing well at the continental level, it will take a CAN victory to usher Morocco into a position of continental prominence in football.


For Lekjaa, the current quality suggests that Renard and his renaissance boys can right decades of trophy drought. He suggested that Morocco’s “ambition to win is legitimate given the quality of their game.”


CAN 2019 will be held in Egypt from June 15 to July 13. The continental showpiece will this year count 24 teams, up from 16 in past tournaments.



By The Atlas Lions, Nov 29 2018 01:50PM

By Morocco World News


Morocco's Atlas Lions climbed 7 places to 40th in the FIFA ranking for November, released on Thursday.


Morocco’s two latest games, against Cameroon and Tunisia, may have improved its position in the ranking.


With a total of 1,440 points, Morocco ranks 3rd in Africa behind Senegal (23rd worldwide) and Tunisia (26th worldwide). Nigeria came fourth in Africa and 44th in the world.


FIFA’s October ranking put the Atlas Lions in 47th globally and 3rd in Africa. Tunisia and Senegal switched the top two places.


Belgium, France, and Brazil top the global ranking for November.


Portugal and Argentina climbed one place each to be ranked 6th and 11th, respectively.

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 21 2018 01:12PM

By Morocco World News -


Although the match at Tunisia’s Stade Olympique de Rades was a friendly, it counted a lot in terms of team morale and quality assessment, especially as the two African giants are preparing for sterner challenges on the continental stage.


Emerging from a draining week of CAN qualifiers, both teams are in the process of putting in place competitive squads to represent them at Africa’s foremost football tournament in June 2019 in Cameroon.


On a chilly night of intermittently tantalizing football between the two North African country, Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri scored the evening’s only goal at the 41st minute of the game.


There was energy and desire in the remaining minutes of the game. There was depth, though occasionally. Most of all, perhaps, there was, from both teams, a constant need to make a strong statement of quality, even superiority.


While Morocco wanted to break the curse of Rades (where they had never won before), Tunisia, ranked above Morocco in FIFA rankings, had no desire to relinquish its on-paper superiority.


There may have been no qualifying spot at stake, no trophy to win. But what was at stake looked great enough, big enough, worth fighting for: pride.


Morocco’s Atlas Lions played to break from the psychological weight of never winning at Rades, an aspiration which Tunisia’s Eagles were determined to smash.


Medhi Benatia and Romain Saiss showed a solid rock-solid defence and kept Tunisia at bay. A few minutes before the break, it was the captain, Benatia, who fired a shot from far away after Abdelilah Hafidi was fouled in the middle of half of the opponents’ area. Youssef En-Nesyri, aware of the rebound, scored his sixth international goal.


Morocco, deploying a cautious 4-4-2 tactical disposition in the second half, foiled the Tunisian team’s regained energy. And despite repeated pressure from Tunisia’s Eagles, Morocco’s Lions seemed comfortable in their 1-0 lead.


Tunisia’s striker Wahbi Khazri and defender Nordin Amrabat of Morocco received one yellow card each.


Renard’s men struggled to find their feet at the start of the game and Tunisia did well to push them high up on the pitch.


And so, Morocco, who had also won its latest game, a much urgent qualifier game against Cameroon, succeeded in maintaining its invincibility against Tunisia.


If anything, the past few days have been enormously rapturous for Atlas Lions and their fans. After breaking the curse of never beating Cameroon, they’ve just broken that of never beating Tunisia in Rades. Perhaps, after all, that’s what Renard-coached teams do: they reduce the domains of implausibility.


For all the criticism that Renard and his boys have received after their early World Cup exit and the immediate lacklustre displays that followed, Morocco’s team seems to have found its way back to a beautiful and confident football.

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 20 2018 07:44PM

(Africanfootball.com) Morocco edged Tunisia 1-0 in an international friendly played at the Olympic Stadium in Rades on Tuesday night.


The Atlas Lions backed up their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win over Cameroon last Friday with a victory in this regional derby, while the Carthage Eagles suffered a second straight loss to a fellow North Africa after their 3-2 defeat in Egypt.


Morocco opened the scoring late in the first half, with Mehdi Benatia’s low shot from a short free kick saved by goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha, but Youssef En Nesyri was on hand to turn home the rebound in the 41st minute.


Tunisia had earlier dominated possession and tried to press high whenever they didn’t have the ball, but they were unable to create any clear chances to test out Atlas Lions gloves-man Monir El Kajoui.


Sofiane Boufal nearly added to Morocco’s advantage just before the hour mark, slipping past a couple of challenges before sending a shot narrowly wide of the target.


In general the second half followed the same pattern as the first, with the Carthage Eagles dictating the pace, but the Atlas Lions looked more threatening in attack.


The hosts looked to boost their hopes with several introductions from the subs bench, but continued to lack a cutting edge in the final third.


Late in the game Tunisia almost claimed an equaliser but substitute Mohamed Drager, when presented with a clear chance in front of goal, was unable to hit the target, leaving Morocco to claim victory.


Both teams will return to action next March when they wrap up their 2019 AFCON qualification campaigns: Morocco will be away to Malawi, while Tunisia host eSwatini.


Tunisia 0

Morocco (1) 1 (En Nesyri 41’)


Tunisia: Ben Mustapha, Nagguez (Mathlouthi 90+1’), Skhiri (Bedoui 73’), Sassi (Chaouat 65’), Haddadi, Ben Amor (Karoui 90+1’), Meriah, Khaoui (Srarfi 57’), Ben Yousseff, Khazri, Sliti (Drager 79’)


Morocco: El Kajoui, Dirar (Hakimi 69’), Benatia (Da Costa 46’), Amrabat (Mazraoui 86’), Fajr, Ait Bennasser, El Hajjam, Hafidi (Azaro 46’), Boufal (El Ahmadi 89’), Saiss, En Nesyri

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