Thursday, December 18, 2014

Morocco Greatest All-time 23 member team

Morocco 1986
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

GhanaCameroonNigeriaSouth Africa,
AlgeriaMoroccoEgyptIvory CoastSenegal,
North AfricaThe Rest of Africa(excluding Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Nigeria and North Africa).

Before 1950's, Morocco was playing under France.  A large number of talented Moroccans were playing in the French league.  Larbi Benbarek was a star with the French national team.  As an independent country, Morocco qualified for the 1970 World Cup Finals, where they managed a draw with Bulgaria.  In 1986, they beat Portugal 3-1 in the group stage before narrowly lost to eventual finalist West Germany 1-0 at the round of 16.  They became the first African country to advance to the second round of the WC Finals.  In 1998, Morocco was on pace to reach the second round, but Norway pulled an upset against Brazil in the Final match, where Brazil had already qualified for the second round and treated the match as a meaningless one.  Norway progressed at the expense of Morocco. However, despite, their performance at the WC Finals, they did not do as well in African Cup of Nations. They only won the Cup once in 1976.

GK: Badou Ezzaki
Better known as Zaki, Badou Ezzaki was the African Player of the Year in 1986 after leading Morocco to the second round of the World Cup Finals in Mexico.  He also enjoyed a successful career with Mallorca in Spain.  He also played for Association Salé, Wydad Casablanca and Fath Union Sport during a 17-year professional career.  In 2006, Zaki was selected by the Confederation of African Football as one of the best 200 African footballers of the last 50 years.

Tahar El-Kalej
GK: Allal Ben Kassou
Allal Ben Kassou played for the Morocco at the 1964 Summer Olympics and at the 1970 World Cup finals.  He played 116 times for the Morocco football team. In 2006, he was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.  For club career, he played club football for his hometown team FAR Rabat in the Botola (Moroccan league).

GK: Mohammed Hazzaz 
Mohammed Hazzaz had 45 caps between 1969 and 1979.  He was the star of Morocco's African Nations Cup winning team in 1976.  He was on the Team of Tournament. He also represented Morocco at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and the World Cup Finals in 1970. For club football, he played for MAS Fez. 

RB:  Larbi Aherdane 
Born in 1954, Larbi Aherdane is considered one of Morocco's greatest defenders.  He played for Wydad Casablanca in the 1970's, where he won the league title in 1976, 1977 and 1978.  For the  national team, he won the African Cup of Nations in 1976 and the Pan Arab Games the same year. He also went to the Olympic Games in 1972 for Morocco.

CB:  Noureddine Naybet 
Naybet was one of the best African defender ever.  He played a record 115 matches for the Moroccan national team, representing the country in two World Cups and six Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. He spent most successful period of his career with Deportivo La Coruña in Spain. He won the 1999-2000 league title with them. He was one of the best center-back in La Liga. He also played with Wydad AC, FC Nantes, Sporting Clube de Portugal and Tottenham Hotspurs.
Noureddine Naybet
CB: Mustapha Bettache

Mustapha Bettache was born in 1931. He started his career with Wydad Casablanca in 1952. In 1955, he moved to France. He played as a defender for eight years under the direction of Kader Firoud at Nîmes Olympique in France. For the national team of Morocco, Bettache earned 8 caps between 1960 and 1963.

CB: Medhi Benatia
At the time of writing, he is considered one of the top center-backs in Africa.  He began his career at Marseille. He first made a name with Udinese and then, Roma, where he was a top defender in the Serie A.  In the summer of 2014, he joined Bayern Munich, but he saw limited action in Germany.  In 2016, he was sent on loan to Juventus and later signed a permanent move. He serves as the captain of the national team.
Medhi Benatia
CB: Mustapha Yaghcha 
In 2006, Mustapha Yaghcha was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.  He played club football for Difaa El Jadida. From 1975 to 1983, he played abroad in Switzerland.  He started with CS Chênois in 1975 and moved to Servette FC in 1980.  For the national team, he went to the 1972 Olympics, playing for Morocco.

CB: Mustapha El Biyaz
In 2006, Mustapha El Biyaz was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.  He played club football mainly with KAC Marrakech and had a brief spell with F.C. Penafiel in the Portugese league between 1987 and 1988.  El Biyaz played for the Morocco national football team at the 1984 Summer Olympics. He also went to the World Cuop Finals in 1986, where Morocco advanced to the second round.
Mustapha El Biyaz
Salem Ben Miloud started his career in Morocco with Wydad Casablanca.  He moved to France in 1946.  He spent 10 seasons with Olympique de Marseille, winning the league title once in 1948. He played a single season with Toulouse FC before retiring. He retired from football before Morocco played its first international game in 1957. He was uncapped.

CM: Aziz Bouderbala 
Aziz Bouderbala played 61 times for Morocco.  He made a name at the World Cup Finals in 1986, where Morocco advanced to the second round.  He was voted as the second best player at the African Player of the Year ward in 1986 as a result of the Finals. In 2006, he was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.  He started his professional career at Wydad Casablanca, before moving to FC Sion, Matra Racing, Olympique Lyon, Estoril and St Gallen in Europe. 
Aziz Bouderbala
CB/DM: Tahar El Khalej
El Khalej started at Kawkab Marrakech in 1990.  He headed to Europe in 1994.  In Europe, he played for several clubs, including UD Leiria and Benfica in Portugal, and for Southampton and Charlton Athletic in England.  He played 49 times for the Morocco and was a participant at the 1994 World Cup and at the 1998 World Cup.

CM: Driss Bamous 
In 2006, Driss Bamous was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.  He played club football for FAR Rabat.  He played 35 times for Morocco.  He went to the 1963 Summer Olympics and 1970 World Cup.  He was also trained as a soldier.  He was promoted to Brigadier General of the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie in 2003.

CM: Abdelmajid Dolmy 
Abdelmajid Dolmy was nicknamed "Maestro".  He earned 140 caps for Morocco and went to the World Cup Finals in 1986, where he helped Morocco to reach the second round.  He also went to the Olympics in 1984. He was chosen  by CAF as one of the best 200 African footballers of the last 50 years. Dolmy played mainly for Raja Casablanca, but also with Olympique de Casablanca between 1987 and 1990.
Abdelmajid Dolmy 
CM: Youssef Chippo
Youssef Chippo was capped 62 times. He represented Morocco at the 1992 Summer Olympics and 1998 World Cup Finals in France.  Chippo began his career at KAC Kénitra. He spent two seasons at Porto where he began to display his talent in Europe. In 1999, he went to Coventry in England playing with Mustapha Hadji in midfield. He later played in Qatar before retiring from football.

Mustafa El Haddaoui started with Raja Casablanca.  In 1985, he moved to play for FC Lausanne-Sport in Switzerland, but he spent his most of his professional career in France, playing for St. Etienne, Nice, Lens, etc. For his international career, he was capped 46 times for Morocco.  He played in the 1986 and 1994 World Cup finals, and the 1984 Summer Olympics.

CM/DM: Abderrahmane Mahjoub 
Born in Morocco, he represented France at the World Cup Finals in 1954. He captained Morocco at the 1962 World Cup.  Known as Prince du Parc (Prince of the Park) in his playing days for his dominant control of the midfield, was one of the best Arab players of his generation, and one of the few who graced the sports fields of Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. He was a long time member of Racing Club of Paris.

AM:  Mohamed Timoumi 
Mohamed Timoumi was named African Footballer of the Year in 1985. He represented Morocco 46 times.  The highlight of his international camera was the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico, where Morocco reached the second round. At the club level, Mohammed Timoumi won the CAF Champions League with FAR Rabat. He also played abroad in Spain and Belgium after 1986 World Cup Finals.  In 2006, he was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years. 
Mohamed Timoumi
AM/RW: Mustapha Hadji
Mustapha Hadji grew up in France, but chose to represent Morocco in 1993. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998.  After the World Cuo Finals in 1998, he won the African Player of the Year award that year.  He was named the 50th greatest African player of all time by African football expert Ed Dove. Professionally, he played for many clubs mainly in Spain and England. He had stints with Nancy, Sporting SP, Deportivo La Coruna, Coventry, Aston Villa, etc.
Mustapha Hadji
FW:  Ahmed Faras
Ahmed Faras is considered to be the greatest Moroccan player of all-time.  He was named African Footballer of the Year in 1975.  He was captain of Morocco for 8 years.  He won the African Cup of Nations in 1976.  He also played in the 1970 World Cup Finals. He also went to the Summer Olympics of 1972 in Munich. For his club career, he spent all of his playing career with his native Chabab Mohammédia from 1965 to 1982.  He finished as the league's top-scorer in 1969 and 1973. 
Ahmed Faras
ST: Hassan Akesbi
Hassan Akesbi started his career at home with Fath Union Sport.  He went to play aboard in France during the 1950's.  At home, he played for Fath Union Sport.  He longest stint in France was with Nimes Olympique.  He also played for AS Monaco and Reims. He was chosen by CAF as one of the best 200 African footballers of the last 50 years.  He played for Morocco from 1960 to 1970.

ST: Driss Joumad
Driss Joumad began playing football with Wydad Casablanca in the 1940s where he joined the senior side at age 18. Joumad won with the WAC triple in 1948-49 season (North African Championship, North Africa Cup and Morocco Championship), without losing a match all season.In 1954, he moved to France to play for FC Girondins de Bordeaux. He suffered a serious knee injury in match against Le Man, which ended his career after a single season.

ST: Salaheddine Bassir
Born in 1972, Salaheddine Bassir earned 52 caps for the Moroccan national team between 1993 and 2002.  He went to the 1998 World Cup Finals in France, where he scored two goals in the 3–0 win against Scotland.  He went to the 2000 Summer Olympics. For his club career, he began his career with Raja Casablanca before playing abroad with Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia.  In 1997, he moved to play in Europe.  He first joined Deportivo La Coruña in Spain.  He also played with OSC Lille (France) and Aris Thessaloniki (Greece).  
Salaheddine Bassir
Tahar El-Kalej
Tahar El-KaleST: Marouane Chamakh
Honorable mention
Hamid Hazzaz, Boujemaa Benkhrif, Rachid Daoudi, Houmane Jarir, Abdelkrim Merry, Abdelilah Saber, Mohammed Abderrazak, Azzedine Amanallah, Maouhoub Ghazouani, Boujemaa Benkhrif, Boujemaa Benkhrif, Mohamed Chtouki, Marouane Chamakh, Abdelkrim El Hadrioui.

Squad Explanation
-- Larbi Benbarek never played for Morocco and he was capped by France. So he is ineligible for this team. Just Fontaine was also born in Morocco. Abderrahmane Mahjoub, on the other hand, had represented Morocco in football. 
-- Morocco's best run at the World Cup Finals was in 1986.  Badou Ezzaki, Mustapha El Biyaz, Abdelmajid Dolmy, Mustafa El Haddaoui and Aziz Bouderbala made my all-time team.
-- Morocco won the 1978 African Cup of Nations.  From that team, I selected Ahmed Faras, Abdelmajid Dolmy, Mohammed Hazzaz and Larbi Aherdane .  I do not know why Mustapha Yaghcha was not on the roster.  He was an active member of the national team in 1978.
-- Mustapha Bettache was a pioneer in Europe for Moroccan players.
-- Mustapha Hadji who who was eligible for France chose to play for Morocco in 1993 before France was eliminated by Bulgaria in the World Cup Qualifiers.  He did not know that France won't be going to the 1994 World Cup Finals when he earned his first cap for Morocco.  His decision had not nothing to do with France's elimination from the World Cup Finals. If he chose to play for France, Hadji might make an impact during France's Golden Generation in the 1990's.
-- Badou Ezzaki is probably the greatest goalkeeper from North Africa.  Zakaria Alaoui usually ranked ahead of Hamid Hazzaz.
-- Medhi Benatia was highly rated. At this moment, he has not lived up to his expectation, but he still managed to play at the highest level in Europe, which was better than a lot Moroccan centerbacks.
-- Boujemaa Benkhrif, Talal El Karkouri and Rachid Neqrouz were the other centerbacks considered.
-- Abdelkrim El Hadrioui is a serious candidate on the left back position.
-- Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi is only a backup wit Real Madrid.  So far, he held on his own during all of his starts.  His future seemed bright, especially the fullback position is thin.  I could see him on this team 10 years from now.
-- Marouane Chamakh deserved to be on this squad, but I do not have the space for him, but I selected Driss Joumad over him. Joumad is a pioneer of Moroccan footballer playing in Europe.

Starting lineup 
Formation: 4-2-1-3


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