Former France youth international midfielder Sofiane Diop has switched nationality to play for Morocco and has been named in the squad for this month’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
The 23-year-old, who plays for French side Nice as an attacking midfielder, opted to play for the Atlas Lions despite being eligible to play for Senegal.
Coach Walid Regragui named the talented player in his 25-man squad on Thursday for the double-header against Eritrea and Tanzania.
Regragui’s selection of the youngster comes as a surprise as the player, formerly of the French youth national team set-up, has long been eligible for Morocco and Senegal.
“I have been speaking with Sofiane since I was named coach,” Regragui said on Thursday.
“He chose Morocco a long time ago but couldn’t join earlier due to administrative reasons and injuries.”
Experienced Wydad Casablanca midfielder Yahya Jabrane also returns after a long absence.
However, Selim Amallah, Ibrahim El Khattabi and Abderrazak Hamdallah are all injured and miss out.
Despite the omissions, Morocco possesses formidable attacking depth. Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri and Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech continue up front alongside Tarik Tissoudali and Abdessamad Ezzalzouli.
New call-ups Diop and Amine Adli provide extra flair.
The squad blends youth and experience, with stalwart defenders like Romain Saiss balanced by young talents like Sofyan Amrabat and Azzedine Ounahi.
Ounahi is included despite missing Olympique Marseille’s Europa League match on Thursday with injury.
The Atlas Lions kick off their qualifying campaign by hosting Eritrea on 16 November in Agadir, before travelling to face Tanzania in Dar es Salaam five days later.
Morocco enter World Cup qualifying as one of Africa’s strongest sides, having reached the semi-finals of the 2022 edition of the tournament held in Qatar.