Renard names final Morocco squad for Cape Verde clashes

Morocco head coach Hervé Renard has named his final 25-man squad to face Cape Verde in a double header, in Group F of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The two-time AFCON winner, who claimed continental glory at the helm of Zambia in 2012 and with Côte d’Ivoire in 2015, confirmed his commitment to hand a maiden call-up to several young players, including Real Madrid defender Achraf Hakimi, AS Nancy midfielder Youssef Ait Bennaser, Saint-Etienne January signing Oussama Tannane and GFC Ajaccio forward Khalid Boutaïb.

Renard is also welcoming former Lille protégé Sofiane Boufal, who decided to pledge allegiance to the Atlas Lions, while keeping faith in seasoned campaigners Mehdi Benatia, Omar El Kaddouri, Younès Belhanda, Nordin Amrabat or Youssef El Arabi.

Lying neck-and-neck with Cape Verde at the top of Group F on six points, following successive wins over Libya and Sao Tome and Principe, Morocco will face their rivals in Praia on 26 March before hosting them in Agadir three days later.

MOROCCO 25-MAN SQUAD

Goalkeepers

Munir Mohamedi (Numancia/Segunda Division)

Yassine Bounou (Real Saragosse/Segunda Division)

Abdelali Mhamdi (RSB/Botola PMT)

Defenders

Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid Juvenil A)

Issam Chebake (Le Havre/Ligue 2)

Achraf Lazaar (Palerme/ Serie A)

Mehdi Benatia (Bayern de Munich/ Bundesliga)

Manuel Da Costa (Olympiakos/Super League)

Abdelhamid El Kaoutari (Reims/Ligue 1)

Mohamed Oulhaj (Raja/Botola PMT)

Midfielders

Nabil Dirar (AS Monaco/Ligue 1)

Romain Saiss (Angers/Ligue 1)

Youssef Ait Bennasser (Nancy/Ligue 2)

Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord/Eredivisie)

Mounir Obbadi (LOSC/Ligue 1)

Omar El Kaddouri (Naples/Serie A)

Younes Belhanda (Schalke 04/Bundesliga)

Faycal Fajr (Deportivo La Corogne/Liga)

Mbarek Boussoufa (La Gantoise/Jupiler Pro League)

Oussama Tannane (ASSE/Ligue 1)

Sofiane Boufal (LOSC/Ligue 1)

Hakim Ziyech (Twente/Eredivisie)

Nordin Amrabat (Watford/Premier League)

Strikers

Youssef El Arabi (Grenade/Liga)

Khalid Boutaib (Gazelec Ajaccio/Ligue 1)

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