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Les Lions de l'Atlas

Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 12 2018 07:27PM

(BBC Sports) Morocco will not bid to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the country's sports minister said.


The North African nation had been tipped as a replacement for Cameroon, who were stripped of the hosting rights last month due to poor preparations.


"Morocco did not intend to run for the 2019 African Cup of Nations and will not do so," Minister of Youth and Sport Rachid Talbi Alami told AFP.


Interested parties have until 2200 GMT on Friday to make an official bid.


In June this year, Morocco failed with a fifth bid to host the World Cup - after losing out to a triple bid Canada, Mexico and the United States.


The following month, Morocco did step in to host the 2019 African Games - formerly known as the All Africa Games - after original hosts Equatorial Guinea withdrew due to financial concerns.


This was a twist on a story concerning the 2015 Nations Cup which Morocco had been due to host but which ended up being staged in Equatorial Guinea after the North Africans requested a postponement because of concerns over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.


Morocco - which had been widely tipped to step in to host next year's Nations Cup - has only ever hosted Africa's flagship football tournament once, back in 1988.


The 2019 finals will be the first to feature 24 teams, rather than 16, and be held in June/July, as opposed to its traditional January/February slot.

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 10 2018 05:38PM

(BBC Sports) The Confederation of African Football's (Caf) executive committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on 9 January to choose new hosts for the 2019 Nations Cup.


Caf is looking for a new venue for the continental tournament after it stripped Cameroon of the hosting rights due to a lack of progress with preparations.


Countries have until 2200GMT on 14 December to submit official bids to host the 24-team tournament which begins in June next year.


Despite reports of interest from Morocco and Congo-Brazzaville no-one has made an official declaration of interest to host the event.


The South Africa Football Association (Safa) is planning a meeting with country's sports minister Tokozile Xasa on Tuesday in order to make a decision on making a bid.


Xasa has expressed an interest in South Africa hosting the event for a third time but admitted she needed more details from Safe before finalising the offer.


By The Atlas Lions, Dec 6 2018 02:23PM

December 6 – The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has pulled out of the bidding race for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, saying it “will not compete with another Arabic country.” Morocco and South Africa remain as favourites to host the continent’s flagship competition.


Last week Cameroon were stripped of the tournament’s hosting rights over delays in preparations. CAF president Ahmad Ahmad revealed that the confederation would strive to “determine a new organising country by the end of the year.”


Egypt, Morocco and South Africa soon stepped forwards as potential hosts for the 24-team event. Cameroon, who won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations defeating Egypt 2-1 in the final, had been awarded the 16-team finals, but CAF then unilaterally increased the number of participants in July 2017 to 24 teams during a symposium held in Morocco.


EFA will however not bid to stage the tournament. “After an EFA meeting on Tuesday, we decided we will not make a bid for the next Afcon,” said EFA board member and spokesman Ahmed Megahed. “We will not compete with another Arabic country – this is an official decision.”


The decision leaves Morocco and South Africa, who have both confirmed an interest in hosting, as two remaining contenders in the bidding race. Egypt last hosted the tournament in 2006 when they won on home soil.


Earlier this year the Moroccans had stepped in to host the African Nations Championship, CHAN, after Kenya had been deemed unfit to host the tournament. Morocco, with their team of home-based players, won the tournament, which was largely considered a success. In June Morocco, however, lost out to the United States, Mexico and Canada for the 2026 World Cup hosting rights. It was the fourth time that the Moroccans had their World Cup dream thwarted.



By The Atlas Lions, Dec 5 2018 01:44PM

Algerian sports journalist Hafid Derradji has lambasted his country’s unreadiness to host sports events like the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN).


By Morocco World News


Rabat – The beIN Sports journalist Hafid Derradji, said that Algeria’s silence is proof that Algeria is not ready to host sports events, including the World Cup and CAN, due to lack of infrastructure and lack of world-class venues.


Derradji made his remarks during a phone interview on Algerian sports television program “Al Hassad Al Ryadi.”


He added that he feels sorry for his country for not even being able to host a “chess competition,” emphasizing that Morocco is “scoring positive points” in terms of infrastructure.


On November 30, Derradji said: “We said it already. Cameroon will not host CAN 2019. Morocco will host it and no one else.”


In 2017, Derradji mocked the Algerian football federation, andhe speculated that the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) will announce Morocco as the official host of the CAN, replace Cameroon.


The journalist sarcastically added that “[t]he Algerian president of the football federation, Khierdine Zetchi, announced days ago that Algeria is ready to replace Cameroon…. Good morning.”


Some of the speculation about CAFwas proved true, as it announced its decision to strip Cameroon ofthe right to host the African tournament.


CAN, also called AFCON, will take place June 15 to July 13, 2019. CAF has now launched a new bidding process to appoint another host for the African tournament.


Both Morocco and South Africa might try to seize the opportunity to host the event s after Cameroon’s failure to retainhosting rights due to delays in completing projects and building venues for 2019 CAN.

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 5 2018 01:42PM

By Morocco World News


After CAF’s decision to strip the CAN hosting rights from Cameroon, several African countries will now submit their bid as a replacement host.


Rabat – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) might consider Morocco as an alternative host to Cameroon. The head coach of the national football team, Herve Renard, believes that Morocco is the right choice to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).


Renard believes that Morocco is ready in terms of infrastructure to host the African tournament. The coach expressed his hope for Morocco to be designated as host country for CAN 2019 “even if it will add extra pressure.”


Cameroon lost eligibility to host the competition after inspections of the country’s sports venues revealed that it was not ready to host the tournament. CAF will now start a new bidding process to appoint another host for the CAN, which will take place from June 15 to July 17.


While Morocco repeatedly supported Cameroon’s bid before CAF made its decision, the North African country might compete with South Africa and other countries to host it.


Morocco’s successful experience in hosting the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) might help Morocco clinch the rights to host CAF’s flagship tournament.


Morocco’s Atlas Lions will take part in the CAF competition after a well deserved qualification.


Fouzi Lekjaa, head of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) said that although the national team has had several exceptional generations of teams, Morocco has not been able to win the CAN since 1976.


He added that Morocco’s Atlas Lions and coach Herve Renard have received criticism. Lekjaa then called on critics to stop the “sterile criticism. We trust Herve Renard who has brought a lot to the Atlas Lions.” He also called for unity and support for both the coach and team.


Morocco’s football team has delivered several solid performances, especially at the 2018 World Cup in their games against Portugal and Spain.


In the 2019 CAN qualifiers, Morocco also received applause from their fans after they “broke the curse” and beat Cameroon 2-0.

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 3 2018 05:29PM

(Associated Press) DUBLIN — European soccer’s leadership is against Spain and Portugal combining with Morocco to bid for the 2030 World Cup.


UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, who has previously praised plans for a British Isles tournament, said Monday he would not back a nation from another continent being involved in a European bid.


“I’m not in favor of cross-confederation bids,” Ceferin said.


Ceferin expressed irritation that politicians were involved in announcing bidding plans. Spain’s prime minister floated the possibility of bidding with Portugal and Morocco, while a political summit was used by leaders of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia to declare their intentions to enter a joint proposal.


“Someone should say once to the politicians it’s not up to them to speak if they will be hosts of the Euros or the World Cup or not,” Ceferin said. “I’ve seen many politicians saying we will be candidate for this and that ... for sports events they will have to speak to their national associations.”



The English Football Association is leading a feasibility study into a British Isles bid featuring Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. England is already hosting seven games, including the semifinals and final, at the continent-wide 2020 European Championship. England was confirmed Monday as the host of the Women’s European Championship in 2021.


“I will do whatever I can to have only one European bid for the World Cup,” Ceferin said, “because that raises the chances of Europe hosting the World Cup extremely.”


Europe just hosted the tournament in Russia, but the 2022 World Cup is in Qatar and the 2026 edition is in North America.


South America is looking to the centenary World Cup in 2030, with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay already announcing a joint proposal. But in a setback to the bid, CONMEBOL has been forced to move the twice-postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final from Buenos Aires to Madrid because it cannot find anywhere safe enough in South America.



“It tells you a lot that we can organize (soccer) in Europe without any problems,” Ceferin said.

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 2 2018 10:33PM

By AFP


Moroccan club Raja Casablanca ended a 15-year wait for an African trophy by winning the CAF Confederation Cup in the Democratic Republic of Congo Sunday despite a 3-1 second-leg loss to V Club.


Raja, who won the last edition of the CAF Cup in 2003, beat V Club 3-0 in the first leg in Casablanca last Sunday and triumphed 4-3 on aggregate in the two-leg title decider.


It was the sixth CAF title for the Moroccans, who have also won the Champions League three times and the Super Cup once.


Abdelilah Hafidi put Raja ahead after 21 minutes on a synthetic pitch saturated by pre-match rain at the 80,000-seat Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa.


The goal left V Club, whose only CAF title came 45 years ago, needing to score five to win the second-tier African club competition.


Jean-Marc Makusu, who started after recovering from a first-leg injury, levelled on the night by slamming a free-kick high into the net during first-half stoppage time.


Raja appeared to be cruising toward overall victory until the Congolese scored twice within three minutes midway through the second half.


Substitute Mukoko Batezadio fired into the net after a goalmouth scramble on 71 minutes and Fabrice Ngoma converted a cross soon after to raise hopes of a sensational comeback.


But Raja stood firm and there were no further clearcut scoring chances for the Congolese, leaving them with an unwanted record of losing three of four CAF finals they reached.


Spain-born Raja handler Juan Carlos Garrido became the first coach to win the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League with two clubs.


He guided Al Ahly of Egypt to a dramatic victory in the 2014 final with the decisive goal against Sewe San Pedro of the Ivory Coast coming after 96 minutes in Cairo.


Victory for Raja also confirmed the dominance of north African clubs in the Confederation Cup, which replaced the African Cup Winners Cup and CAF Cup competitions in 2004.


They are the fourth Moroccan club to lift the trophy after FAR Rabat (2005), FUS Rabat (2010) and Moghreb Fes (2011) and the 10th north African winners in 15 finals.


V Club, who won at home and drew away against Raja in the group stage, had hoped to emulate compatriots and arch domestic rivals TP Mazembe, winners of the 2016 and 2017 finals.


However, the odds were stacked against them as only Mouloudia Alger of Algeria had overcome a three-goal first-leg deficit in 108 previous home-and-away CAF club finals.


Raja will start defending the title on December 16 with a round-of-32 home fixture in the 2018/2019 edition against Silver Strikers of Malawi or Cercle Mberi Sportif of Gabon.

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