Home Sport Morocco vs South Africa: Here’s what you need to know

Morocco vs South Africa: Here’s what you need to know

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Bafana Bafana start their Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign with a tough clash against continental powerhouses Morocco tonight. Here’s what you need to know about the clash.

Percy Tau will need a big game to help Bafana Bafana get past Moroccos. Photo: Liberty Mugari/BackpagePix

Cape Town Þ Bafana Bafana start their Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign with a tough clash against continental powerhouses Morocco tonight. Here’s what you need to know about the clash.

Bafana Bafana’s Head-to-Head against Atlas Lions

P7 W2 D3 L2 F9 A7

First encounter

Africa Cup of Nations – February 22, 1998: SA 2, Morocco 1

Last encounter

International Friendly – July 1, 2019: SA 0, Morocco 1

Last five results in all competitions

Morocco LWDLW

South Africa LDLWW

Match officials

Referee: Sadok Selmi (TUN); Assistants: Aymen Ismail (TUN); Mohamed Yousri Bouali (TUN)

Kick-off

9pm on SABC1 and SS Grandstand

MOROCCO SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Y Bounou (Sevilla), M El Kajoui (Hatayspor), A Zniti (Raja Casablanca);

Defenders: S Chakla (OH Leuven), S Mmaee (Ferencvarosi), G Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers), N Aguerd (Rennes), A Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain), N Mazraoui (Bayern Munich), S Alakouch (Lausanne-Sport), A Masina (Watford);

Midfielders: F Fajr (Sivasspor), S Amrabat (Firoentina), A Barkok (Eintracht Frankfurt), I Chair (QPR), Adel Taarabt (Benfica), A Ounahi (Angers), S Amallah (Standard Liege);

Forwards: S. Rahimi (Al Ain), A. Harit (Olympique Marseille), M. El Haddadi (Sevilla), Z Aboukhlal (Alkmaar), Y En-Nesyri (Sevilla), A El Kaabi (Hatayspor), T Tissoudali (Gent).

Possible starting line-up: Bono; Masina, Aguerd, Saiss, Mmaee, Hakimi; Ounahi, Amrabat, Taarabt; El Kaabi, En Nesyri

BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu);

Defenders: Nyiko Mobbie (Sekhukhune United), Khuliso Mudau (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bandile Shandu (Orlando Pirates), Grant Kekana (Sundowns), Thibang Phete (Belenenses, Portugal), Taariq Fielies (Cape Town City), Lyle Lakay (Sundowns), Innocent Maela (Pirates);

Midfielders: Sphelele Sithole (Belenenses), Goodman Mosele (Pirates), Phathutshedzo Nange (Chiefs), Yusuf Maart (Sekhukhune United);

Strikers: Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC), Mayo (City), Fagrie Lakay (Pyramids FC, Egypt), Lyle Foster (KVC Westerlo, Belgium), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Minnesota FC, US), Percy Tau (Al Ahly, Egypt)

Possible starting line-up: Williams; Maela, Mobbie, Lakay, Phete; Morena, Maart, Maboe; Tau, Dolly, Makgopa

OUR PREDICTIONS

Herman Gibbs: Morocco, at home have proved to be a formidable force and on Thursday evening it should be no different when they open their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations campaign against an untried South African outfit in Rabat.

On paper, Morocco appear too strong with all their Euro-based players and could end this Group K pipe-opener with a 2-0 win. In the recent World Cup qualifiers, Morocco won all six group encounters and scored 20 goals, while conceding only one.

SA coach Hugo Broos is a wily tactician and he may well come up with a game plan that could unsettle Morocco.

Mihlali Baleka: Bafana might be winless in their last three games, following two losses and one draw, but they are capable of pulling a rabbit out of hat against the Atlas Lions and getting a draw.

Albeit being favourites to top Group K, Morocco camp hasn’t been stable in the last few months, especially after coach Vahid Halilhodzic decided to omit Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech from his squad for the previous Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Bafana are deemed the underdogs heading into the match, but they’ve got a knack of competing when we least expect them to. Remember when they beat Ghana at home?

Eshlin Vedan: Bafana tend to fight when they are up against the big guns in African football and will once again do so in this game. It will be decided on narrow margins and in the end, I expect Morocco to prevail 1-0.

At the end of the day, Bafana tend to make basic errors, such as incoherent passing, and this should be easily swept up by the Moroccan defence of Romain Saiss, Achraf Hakimi and Co.

If the North Africans execute their strategy correctly, they should prevail in this game.

Then again, upsets do happen in football.

Smiso Msomi: The group of players coach Hugo Broos has with him in Rabat are more than capable of an upset against Morocco but only if they play a nearly flawless match.

The different core departments of the team will see changes and variations. The pairings at centre-back and central midfield could either win or lose you the match. While these could backfire but they could also inspire a united performance.

Different individuals with a purpose to prove against a Morocco outfit with a slight dent in confidence after losing their last match, might just be the scenario for Bafana Bafana to gain a valuable away point.

I suspect it will be a 1-1 draw.

@Herman_Gibbs

@EshlinV

@MihlaliBaleka

@SmisoMsomi16

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