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Benoun, Bencharki excluded as Morocco announce 2021 AFCON squad

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Morocco national team manager Vahid Halilhodžić announced his squad for the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to take place between 9 January 2022 and 6 February 2022 across five cities in Cameroon.

The tournament was originally scheduled to be played in June and July 2021 but the CAF announced on 15 January 2020 that due to unfavorable climatic conditions during this period, the tournament would be postponed.

The Atlas Lions are going to start their journey in Group C, as they compete with Ghana, Gabon, and Comoros.

As the competition is closing in, Vahid Halilhodžić announced his 25-man squad, which didn’t include Al Ahly’s Badr Benoun and Zamalek’s Achraf Bencharki.

Speaking on his choices, Halilhodžić said: “I love Benoun, but I had to make a choice, I hope he’s not angry.

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“I was impressed with Benoun and Chibi’s performances in the FIFA Arab Cup, while Bencharki and Soufiane Rahimi disappointed me.

“In case something happens to any of the current squad players, Benoun or Chibi should be joining us.”

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla, Spain), Mounir Mohamedi (Hatayspor, Turkey), Anas Zniti (Raja)

Defenders: Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Nayef Aguerd (Stade Rennes, France), Sofiane Chakla (OH Leuven, Belgium), Sami Mmaee (Ferencvaros, Hungary), Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain, France), Sofiane Alakouche (Metz, France), Sofiane El Karouani (NEC Nijmegen, Netherlands), Adam Masina (Watford, England)

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Midfielders: Sofiane Amrabat (Fiorentina, Italy), Ayman Barkok (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Faycal Fajr (Sevaspor, Turkey), Imran Loza (Watford, England), Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers, England), Selim Amallah (Standard Liege, Belgium), Azzedine Ounahi (Angers, France)

Forwards: Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Barcelona, ​​Spain), Munir El Haddadi (Sevilla, Spain), Zakaria Aboukhlal (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla, Spain), Ayoub El Kaabi (Wydad), Sofiane Boufal (Angers, France), Ryan Mmaee (Ferencvaros, Hungary)

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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