• NT: Advocaat new name in Morocco's hat

    (SuperSport.com) Former Dutch, Belgian, South Korean, United Arab Emirates and Russian national team coach Dick Advocaat says he has been approached to take over at the helm of Morocco, who have been seeking a high profile leader for next year’s African Nations Cup finals.

    The 66-year-old, who has already announced he is leaving AZ Alkmaar at the end of the season, told the Dutch magazine Voetbal International: “I have been approached through an intermediary. I told him that if they are serious, then I’d certainly be willing to talk.”

    Advocaat took the Netherlands to the 1994 World Cup quarterfinal and returned for a second spell at the Euro 2004 tournament. At the 2006 World Cup he was in charge of South Korea and Russia at Euro 2012.

    He has extensive international experience and has coached Glasgow Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg as well.

    Advocaat’s name is added to a growing list of potential candidates as Morocco seek a coach with just over six months left before next year’s finals.

    Moroccan media report Herve Renard and Giovanni Trapattoni are also on the candidates’ list and a choice is to be announced in the next weeks.

    Renard is the Nations Cup-winning coach of Zambia, who is trying to keep Sochaux up in Ligue 1 and won an important game away at the weekend, while Trapattoni was also recently linked by Italian media with the Ivory Coast job.

    He was last in charge of the Republic of Ireland but left after their failure to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil.

    Morocco have been tardy about the appointment of a coach because of a recent leadership crisis, solved just last week when Fouzi Lekjaa was voted in as the new Morocco Football Federation president.

    He is seeking to move swiftly to fill the vacant post.

    They host next year’s Nations Cup finals from January 17-February 7 and have a training camp planned for Portugal next month where they are scheduled to play Burkina Faso, Angola and Mozambique in international friendlies as part of their preparation.

    Morocco are also helping Russia warm up for the World Cup by playing them in a friendly on June 6, set for Moscow.

    Rachid Taoussi took charge of the Atlas Lions at last year’s Nations Cup tournament in South Africa, where they narrowly failed to get past the first round, but replaced after the completion of their unsuccessful World Cup qualifiers in September.

    Hassan Benabicha was the acting coach for their last match – a 1-1 draw with Gabon in Marrakech early last month.

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  • NT: Herve Renard plays down links to Morocco coach position

    (BBC Sport) Sochaux coach Herve Renard has distanced himself from reports he could become the next coach of Morocco.

    Morocco are seeking to install a permanent replacement for Rashid Taoussi, who was sacked last year.

    The Atlas Lions are believed to want 45-year-old Renard, who won the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia.

    However, Renard told BBC Sport: "At the moment I am in France and my first priority is to stay in Europe - at Sochaux or to move to a better team."

    He added: "You never know in advance in football so I have to concentrate on my mission with my club. In one month we will know where I am going."

    Renard took over at the French Ligue 1 club in October 2013, after ending his 33-month reign as Chipolopolo boss.

    The transition from national manager in Africa to club boss in Europe has not been an easy one, with Renard admitting "life was very difficult in November and December, just after I came back to France".

    Sochaux are currently in the relegation places, sitting 18th in the table out of 20 teams, and the Frenchman is desperate to make up the two-point gap to their nearest places rivals to avoid the drop.

    "We have a big mission to keep the team in Ligue 1. We have four game remaining - four tough games - but I am sure we will be able to stay in the top division," he said.

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  • Moroccans Abroad: Taarabt sends Milan to 5th straight win

    (Ahram Online) Mario Balotelli set a personal record with his 14th goal of the Serie A season and also set up another score as AC Milan beat visiting Livorno 3-0 Saturday for its fifth straight win.

    Still, Milan remained five points behind city rival Inter Milan in the race for fifth place and the final Europa League berth, after Inter beat 10-man Parma 2-0.

    In the 43rd minute at the San Siro, Balotelli scored with a textbook header from the center of the area following a cross from Kevin Constant. Balotelli's previous best seasonal output was 13 goals.

    Morocco midfielder Adel Taarabt doubled Milan's lead in the 51st and substitute Giampaolo Pazzini added another in the 84th after taking a pass from Balotelli.

    Elsewhere, third-placed Napoli was held 1-1 at Udinese.

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  • NT: Mozambique invited by Morocco to play in Portugal

    (SuperSport.com) Mozambique have been invited to travel to Portugal next month to play a friendly against Morocco next month, just days after a similar game against Angola was fixed, official said on Tuesday.

    Morocco, who are hosting the next African Nations Cup, will be camping in the Algarve to prepare their side for the 2015 finals.

    They have already fixed a game against ‘Palancas Negras’ for May 28 and now want Mozambique’s Mambas to come and play on May 25.

    The Mozambican Football Federation will be looking to firm up the fixture when they travel to Morocco later this month to attend the draw for the African Nations Cup qualifiers. It is being held in Morocco on April 27.

    Mozambique might also play Iraq if they decided to have a final training camp in South Africa before they go to the World Cup. If so the match would happen in Nelspruit at the start of June.

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  • FRMF: Lekjaa heads Moroccan soccer body

    (Xinhua) -- Fouzi Lakjaa was elected late Sunday new president of the Moroccan Royal Football Federation (FRMF), during the FRMF general assembly.

    Lekjaa was the only candidate. He was elected for a four-year mandate, renewable once.

    Lekjaa, is the vice-president of the Berkane's Renaissance Sportive, a first division club in the Moroccan league.

    Last November FIFA annulled the election of Lekjaa as the new president and demanded a fresh vote, accusing the FRMF of failing to adopt the correct statutes before organizing the election

    The FRMF adopted during an extraordinary general assembly last march its updated statute to conform with the FIFA laws in the presence of managers of first league, second league, regional and amateur clubs.

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  • U20: Morocco and Nigeria draw again in friendly

    (Goal.com) Nigeria's U20 team played a 1-1 draw with the Moroccan U20 side in Rabat on Friday. The Junior Atlas Lions had forced the Flying Eagles to a 2-2 in the first game of their double header friendly against the hosts.

    Alhassan Ibrahim put Manu Garba’s team in the lead in the early stages of the first half before captain Khaba Hamza restored parity for the Moroccans on the half hour mark when he breezed past the Nigerian defence to shoot past goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar.

    Both nations are planning towards the African Youth Championship (AYC) slated for Senegal next year. Nigeria came third during the last championship in Algeria behind Ghana and Egypt.

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  • U20: Morocco Play 2-2 Draw In Nigeria Friendly

    Morocco’s U-20 team forced Nigeria’s Flying Eagles to a 2-2 draw in a friendly game at the National Sports Centre in Rabat on Wednesday.

    The Flying Eagles led twice through Alhassan Ibrahim in the second half, before skipper, Arjoune Omar, drew the home team level in stoppage time.

    Coach Manu Garba’s team dominated the first half even after the hosts settled quicker, controlled the play and called goalkeeper Emeka Nwabulu to duty, making him to pull a save off a free kick in just four minutes into the game.

    Ifeanyi Matthew then had several chances to put Nigeria in front but his shots either were too weak or missed target within the first 18 minutes. Taiwo Awoniyi rounded up the Moroccan goalkeeper in the 14th minute but somehow the opposing defence cleared to safety.

    Five minutes after the break, Abdullahi Alfa had a chance to give Nigeria the lead but his shot was wide off target despite being all alone with goalkeeper Majid Aymane.

    Alhassan Ibrahim finally broke the deadlock after 64 minutes with a gentle tap in from close range, but almost immediately Morocco drew level after skipper Wilfred Ndidi put a low cross into his own net.

    Goalkeeper Nwabulu made a big save for Nigeria in the 74th minute and moments later Ibrahim and Matthew came close to regaining the Eagles lead.

    He finally scored his brace in the 81 minute, before skipper Omar salvaged a result for the Junior Lion Atlas in stoppage time with a close header.

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  • NT: Morocco to play Burkina Faso in Portugal

    (SuperSport.com) Burkina Faso Football Federation says it has reached a deal with Moroccan officials for a friendly match between both teams on May 24 in Portugal.

    The Burkina Faso FA chief Sita Sangaré says the meeting will open preparations for the upcoming qualifiers of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

    Burkina Faso and Morocco did not qualify for the 2014 World Cup but officials from both sides say their teams will not fold their arms while the Brazil-bound outfits fine tune for the tournament.

    Morocco are yet to recruit a head coach. The election of the chairman of the Football Federation on April 13 will speed up the process, according to the body.

    Former Zambia coach Frenchman Herve Renard is topping a list of seven candidates officials are vetting for the post. Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic has also applied after declining to renew his contract with the Fennec Foxes beyond the World Cup.

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  • Moroccans Abroad: Belhanda dreams of Arsenal move

    (Ahram Online) The Moroccan playmaker hopes his future will include a spell in the Premier League, with Arsenal being his preferred destination.

    Dinamo Kiev's Moroccan midfielder Younes Belhanda said on Tuesday he is hoping to play in the Premier League at some point of his career, naming Arsenal as his favourite club in the elite competition.

    "I am dreaming about England. Every player wants to play in England one day. I have to experience that," Belhanda told France Football on Tuesday.

    "My favourite club? Arsenal, of course. It is the club of Frenchmen. Newcastle as well, but they are a step below. Manchester City and Liverpool are exciting too.

    "There are so many clubs with big histories. That is England."

    The former Montpellier man, who was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa last summer, insisted that his move for Dinamo Kiev was not down to financial reasons.

    Belhanda said had it been for money, he would have joined Emirati side Al-Jazira.

    "My transfer to Kiev? I didn't have any other offers, apart from Al-Jazira," Belhanda added.

    "People talked about Aston Villa and stated that I joined Kiev for money. If it was only for money, I would have joined Al-Jazira. They offered me double the wages I get in Kiev."

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  • Moroccans Abroad: Taarabt inspires Milan victory

    (BT Sport) Adel Taarabt provided much of the inspiration as AC Milan won 2-1 at Genoa on Monday evening to keep the Rossoneri's Europa League hopes alive.

    The midfielder, who is on loan from QPR, put Milan ahead in the 20th minute before setting up Keisuke Honda in the second half.

    Marco Motta reduced the deficit in the 73rd minute but the hosts could not find an equaliser as Milan claimed their third successive Serie A victory - the first time that has happened all season.

    With six games remaining, the Rossoneri are five points adrift of city rivals Inter Milan, who hold the last Europa League qualifying spot.

    Genoa, however, lost for the second week in a row and are six points adrift of Milan.

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