Thursday, December 18, 2014

Morocco Greatest All-time 23 member team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  I also updated mine periodically.  I made mistakes. He is from Russia.  He should know the topic much more than I do, but he still kept my mistakes. He will copy this Belarus All-Time Team.  Please look at my other teams from the former Soviet Union.  He copied all of them.

His Facebook and Instagram

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

Africa All-Time Team , African Born

Morocco World Cup 2022

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 World Cup Finals, they did not do as well in African Cup of Nations. They only won the Cup once in 1976.
Morocco World Cup 1986
GK: Badou Ezzaki الزاكي بادو
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 علال بن قصو
Allal Ben Kassou was born in 1971.  He played for the Morocco at the 1964 Summer Olympics and at the 1970 World Cup finals, where Morocco had a fantastic game against West Germany.  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).
Allal Ben Kassou
GK: Yassine Bounou "Bono" ياسين بونو
"Bono" spent most of his career in Spain, making over 100 La Liga appearances for Girona and Sevilla.  In 2020, he joined Sevilla.  He made some important saves as Sevilla won the European League in the 2019-2020 season in which he was named in the Europa League Squad of the Season.  He also won the La Liga Zamora Trophy in the 2021–22 season.   He was eligible to represent Canada or Morocco, but sicen 2013m he has represented Morocco.  

RB: Achraf Hakimi أشرف حكيمي
Achraf Hakimi came through Real Madrid's youth academy, but he first made a name with Borussia Dortmund.  He later played for Inter Milan for a season.  In 2021, he joined PSG in France.  He won the Lion d'Or African Footballer of the Year in 2019Born in Spain, he was eligible  to play for them, but he chose Morocco.  He played for them at the 2018 World Cup Finals.

RB:  Larbi Aherdane  عبد العزيز بن تيفور
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  نور الدين نيبت
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 مصطفى بطاش
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: Mustapha Yaghcha مصطفى يغشا
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: Medhi Benatia المهدي بنعطية
At the time of writing, Medhi Benatia 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
LB: Abdelsalem Ben Miloud Salem عبد السلام بن ميلود سالم
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.

CB/DM: Tahar El Khalej الطاهر الخلج
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  إدريس باموس
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.

FW/AM/CM: Abderrahmane Mahjoub  عبد الرحمن بلمحجوب
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.

CM/DM: Abdelmajid Dolmy عبد المجيد الظلمي
Abdelmajid Dolmy was nicknamed "Maestro" for his playmaking skills.  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 
AM/CM: Aziz Bouderbala عزيز بودربالة
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. 

AM: Larbi Benbarek  العربي بن مبارك
Larbi Benbarek was born and raised in Morocco in the period when the country was under the French rule.  He was the first Black player to reach stardom in Europe, earning the nick name "Black Pearl". He made his name with Stade Francasis Paris.  In 1948, he moved to Atletico Madrid, where he reached the height of his career and won two La Liga title.  He is considered one of the greatest ever French player. He was capped 19 times between 1938 and 1954.

Mohamed Timoumi محمد التيمومي

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. 

AM/RW/WF: Hakim Ziyech حكيم زياش;
Hakim Ziyech started his career at Heerenveen in 2012 and signed for fTwente two years later. In 2016 he signed for Ajax.  He was Dutch Footballer of the Year: 2017–18.  He joined  Chelsea in 2020, winning the Champions' League in 2021.  Born in the Netherlands, he represented them in the youth level.  Since 2015, he played for Morocco.  He went to the 2018 World Cup Finals.

AM/RW: Mustapha Hadji مصطفى حجي
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
ST: Driss Joumad ادریس جوماد
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.

FW:  Ahmed Faras أحمد فرس
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 حسن أقصبي
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:  Salaheddine Bassirصلاح الدين بصر
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, Zakaria Alaoui, Khalil Azmi, Nadir Lamyaghri and Munir Mohamedi, Chérif Fetoui, Abdelilah Saber Rachid Neqrouz, Mustapha El Biyaz, Talal El Karkouri, Abdelkrim El Hadrioui, Boujemaa Benkhrif, Mbark Boussoufa, Abdelkrim El Hadrioui, Azzedine Amanallah, Rachid Daoudi, Maouhoub Ghazouani, Mohamed Chtouki, Mustafa El Haddaoui, Houmane Jarir, Abdelkrim Merry, Abdelilah Saber, Mohammed Abderrazak,  Marouane Chamakh, Mounir El Hamdaoui, Karim El Ahmadi.

Squad Explanation
-- The team was created in 2014.  I did a full review of this team in August, 2022.  But I again studied the team after the World Cup Finals in 2022 where Morocco reached the semifinal.
-- Morocco had 4 African Players of the Year at the time of writing. Ahmed Faras is considered to be the greatest Moroccan player of all-time.  He was named African Footballer of the Year in 1975.  Goalkeeper 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. After the World Cup Finals in 1998, Mustapha Hadji won the African Player of the Year award that year.  Mohamed Timoumi was named African Footballer of the Year in 1985 for his club team ASFAR (Royal Army team) winning the African Champions Cup that year.
Mohamed Timoumi
-- The Confederation of African Football (CAF) compiled a list of 200 greatest African footballers of the last 50 years.  Fourteen Moroccan players were chosen.  I used this list as a reference.  They were Driss Bamous, Allal Ben Kassou, Hassan Akesbi, Abderrahmane Belmahjoub, Abdelmajid Dolmy, Ahmed Faras, Mustapha Yaghcha, Aziz Bouderbala, Mostfha El Biyaz, Mustapha El Haddaoui, Mohamed Timoumi, Badou Zaki, Mustafa Hadji and Noureddine Naybet.  
-- Morocco's best run at the World Cup Finals was in 1986.  They became the first African team to reach the second round. Badou Ezzaki,  Abdelmajid Dolmy, Mustafa El Haddaoui and Aziz Bouderbala made my all-time team.  Mustapha El Biyaz was on the team in 2014.
-- Morocco had an exciting team in the 1998 World Cup Finals.  They narrowly finished third behind Norway and Brazil in the Group Stage.  Noureddine Naybet, Tahar El Khalej, Youssef Chippo,  Mustapha Hadji and Salaheddine Bassir were selected from the 1998 team.
-- In 2018, Morocco selected 17 foreign-born players on its World Cup team. Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi has starred for Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan.  I added him alongside Yassine Bounou and Hakim Ziyech prior to the 2022 World Cup Finals.  Romain Saïss made honorable mention. After Morocco reached semifinal of the 2022 World Cup Finals, I added Azzedine Ounahi, Sofiane Boufal, Noussair Mazraoui and Sofyan Amrabatd to honorable mention. 
-- Morocco won the 1976 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.  They all made this all-time team.  Forward Ahmed Faras is considered to be the greatest Moroccan player of all-time. 
African Cup of Nations  winner 1976
-- I considered FLN as the national team of Algeria.  The players who played for them were eligible for my Algeria All-Time team.  So I also recognised players who played for the pre-independent Morocco as eligible for this time.  Larbi Benbarek played at least three times for them.  So I selected him. Abderrahmane Mahjoub played for France, but he had also represented Morocco in football. Salem Ben Miloud who started his career in Morocco played over 10 seasons in France, but he never played for France. He retired before Morocco played its first ever national team.  So they were eligible.
-- I looked in IFFHS and this French list of Best XI for Morocco.
-- Badou Ezzaki is probably the greatest goalkeeper from North Africa.  He was voted 4th in Africa's greatest goalkeeper in the Century Poll.  He led Morocco in the 1986 World Cup Finals as their captain.  They became the first African team to qualify for the second round.  He was an undisputed selection.  
Badou Ezzaki 
-- In August, 2022, I decided to go with Yassine Bounou.   He made some important saves as Sevilla won the European League in the 2019-2020 season in which he was named in the Europa League Squad of the Season.  He also won the La Liga Zamora Trophy in the 2021–22 season.  He had done things that no other Moroccan goalkeeper could match. I dropped Mohammed Hazzaz, but I had second thoughts.  He accomplished more things with the national team than Bounou. 
-- Mohammed Hazzaz aka Hamid 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. This was a Golden period for Morocco. For club football, he played for MAS Fez. 
-- I chose Allal Ben Kassou over Hazzaz because he was on the list of 200 greatest African footballers in the last 50 years compiled by CAF.  He was also on the 1972 African Nations' Cup Team of the Tournament.  He also started ahead of Hazzaz at the 1970 World Cup Finals.  By the 1972 Olympics, Hazzaz was the starting goalkeeper.
--  I also looked into Zakaria Alaoui, Khalil Azmi, Nadir Lamyaghri and Munir Mohamedi.
-- Noureddine Naybet was one of the best African defender ever.  He played for Deportivo La Coruna between 1996 and 2004.  he was widely considered among the best defenders playing in Spain at the time.  Medhi Benatia was highly rated when he played AS Roma, but he had not lived up to his expectation during his stints with Bayern Munich and Juventus.  He still managed to play at the highest level in Europe for a long time, which was better than most Moroccan centrebacks' career in the club level. So both made he this all-time team.
 -- Mustapha Bettache was a pioneer in Europe for Moroccan players. He went to play in France in 1956.  He played with forward Hassan Akesbi in Nîmes.  Over there, he was considered one of the best defenders in the league.   He earned the famous cheer "Bettache-le!" cheer among the fans.  He turned down a French call-up and played for Morocco.  In 1962 World Cup continental playoff, he played two legendary matches against Spain that featured Alfredo Di Stefano.  
 -- Rachid Neqrouz spent 7 seasons as a top central defender with Bari.  His club career was between Serie A and B.  Romain Saïss played a few seasons with Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the majority of his career was spent in the lower division. After the 2022 World Cup finals, I seriously considered him. Talal El Karkouri played around 100 games for PSG, but he was not an important player there.  He played about one good season in Charlton.  They all made honorable mentions.  
-- In 2014, I took five central defenders in total, but in 2022, I decided to drop one of them for Achraf Hakimi. I decided to choose between Mustapha El Biyaz and Mustapha Yaghcha.  Both were honored as one of the 200 Greatest African Footballers of the last 50 years chosen by the CAF.   Yaghcha nicknamed "Brown Pearl" was considered one of the best players from the Swiss league in the 1970's and early 1980's.  He retired to become a coach and then, a referee. He seemed to be a more famous than El Biyaz who did not do well while playing in Portugal.  I did not know what happened to him in Portugal.
-- Mustapha El Biyaz played club football mainly with KAC Marrakech and had a brief spell with F.C. Penafiel in the Portuguese 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 Cup Finals in 1986, where Morocco advanced to the second round..
-- Chérif Fetoui made AFCON Team of Tournament in 1978.  He sometimes listed as a midfielder.  I did not know his true position.  He could only make honorable mention.
-- Larbi Ihardane was listed in of the Moroccan sites as a top 10 greatest ever player.  In 2014, I put him as a rightback, but when I did my review of the team in 2022, I was not sure.  I saw a Youtube video of him and he seemed to be a leftback.  However, I found him being selected Morocco's Best XI as a rightback by a French source.  He was a part of Morocco's African Cup of Nations winning team in 1978.  Achraf Hakimi already established himself playing with two bigger clubs in the world.  At the time of writing, Noussair Mazraoui is only 24 years old.  It is still premature to include him. I also had Abdelilah Saber on the players' pool.
Achraf Hakimi
-- Abdelkrim El Hadrioui was a serious candidate on the left back position, but I decided to take a single leftback.  I only took Abdelsalem Ben Miloud Salem who had a long career playing in France during the 1940's and 1950's.  Boujemaa Benkhrif made the Team of the Tournament in the 1972 AFCON.  It was Morocco's first ever finals of the tournament. He also played in the World Cup Finals two years earlier.  It was my understanding that he was a top player at his time, but I did not know his extra position.  He was listed as a leftback by some sources. Noussair Mazraoui helped Morocco to reach the semifinal of 2022 World Cup Finals.  He was also named in the Eredivisie Team of the Year in the 2020-21 season.  However, he was not going to replace Ben Miloud.
-- I found  several "Top 10 Greatest Moroccan footballers ever" list in Arabic.  They all were similar.  Abdelmajid Dolmy, Aziz Bouderbala, Mohamed Timoumi, Tahar El Khalej and Abderrahmane Mahjoub were frequently mention.  Mustapha El Haddaou who was on the "200 Greatest African footballers of the last 50 years" by CAF was not among them (see Hakim Ziyech before).  Since information on the subject was inadequate, I decided to use those lists as well as the 200 Greatest African footballers from the last 50 years lists from the CAF as basis for the midfield.  However, I did not blindly select everyone from the list.  I used "google translate" to do search in Arabic and French for each player.
-- Abderrahmane Mahjoub had represented France in the 1954 World Cup, but he later captained Morocco in the 1962 World Cup qualifying rounds.  I believed he started as an attack midfielder with Racing Club Paris in 1951 earning the nickname "le Prince du Parc".  The following year, with the arrival of the Brazilian  Yeso Amalfi and forward Thadée Cisowski, he stepped back to a more defensive role.  According to different sources, he was likely to be a attack midfielder, but possibly a defensive midfielder.  He was even listed as a centre-half.  So I put him as a central midfielder.  
-- Tahar El Khalej was described as a centraback or midfielder.  He was Glenn Hoddle's first signing in Southampton.  He was deployed as a central defender, but occasionally as a midfielder according Southampton's official website.  For this team, I put him as a defensive midfielder.   However, after the 2022 World Cup Finals, I considered dropping him or Driss Bamous for Sofyan Amrabatr, but I decided to stay put.  Amrabatr needs a few more seasons to upseat these two players.
-- Abdelmajid Dolmy was a brilliant dribber.  He was a member of the team who won the African Cup of Nations in 1976 and qualified for the second round of the 1986 World Cup Finals.  He never received a red card in his entire career.  
 -- Mohamed Timoumi was named African Footballer of the Year in 1985 for his club team ASFAR (Royal Army team) winning the African Champions Cup that year and Morocco qualification for the World Cup Finals.  He scored a goal directly from a corner kick against Libya that year, which was remembered fondly by fans around Africa.
-- In midfield, I have Aziz Bouderbala who finished second the African Player of the Year in 1986.  He was also the Player of the Tournament in the 1988 AFCON. 
Aziz Bouderbala
-- I also looked into other midfielders such as Azzedine Amanallah, Rachid Daoudi, Maouhoub Ghazouani, Mohamed Chtouki, Mustafa El Haddaoui and Mbark Boussoufa.
-- Mohamed Chtouki played for Wydad Athletic Club (WAC) during the period between 1940 and 1950, forming the famous "Triplette d'Or" with  striker Driss Joumad and Abdesselem Ben Mohammed.  They won the treble in the 1948-49 season: North African Championship, North African Cup and the Moroccan League with an undefeated record. Later, Bordeaux would acquire both Joumad and Ben Mohammed while Chtouki went to Nice. Chtouki only made honorable mention.  Ben Mohammed played for France and was ineligible for this team, but Driss Joumad made this team.
-- Mbark Boussoufa was named Belgian Professional Footballer of the Year: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10 season.  He was a prime candidate, but I stayed with Mohamed Timoumi, Abdelmajid Dolmy and Aziz Bouderbala.  The team actually had too many attack midfielders.  I should drop one of them.  I should have taken Karim El Ahmadi, a defensive midfielder.
-- In 2014, I thought Larbi Benbarek was uncapped for Morocco.  He actually played a few times for Morocco in the late 1930's. It was a period before the Royal Moroccan Football Federation was founded in 1955.  I recognised the pre-Morocco national team as an official national team. In 1937, he represented Morocco and beat France 4-2. Benbarek was one of the best on the field.  It was the year before he transfered to Olympique de Marseille.  I found some evidence that he played in the 1940's, but I needed to look further into the topic.   He was not selected for my France All-Time team because I already had Raymond Kopa, Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini, but he was one of the best players ever played for France. 
Larbi Benbarek
-- In 2022, I dropped Youssef Chippo for him.  He 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.
-- Mustapha Hadji 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.
-- In 2021, I replaced Mustafa El Haddaoui with Hakim Ziyech.  That year, he helped Chelsea to win the Champions' League.  Before that, he was named Eredivisie Best Player for the 2015–16, 2017–18 and 2018–19 season while playing for Ajax.  
Hakim Ziyech
-- 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.  I moved him to honorable mention.
-- Just Fontaine was born in Morocco of a French father and a Spanish mother.   He began his amateur career at USM Casablanca, where he played from 1950 to 1953.  I seriously considered him.  For my all-time teams of Algeria and Senegal, I ruled all players who played for France before their native national teams as eligible.  The good players from that generational had no other choice, but to represent France.  Without this rule, if a player was not good enough for France, he would be eligible while the better players became ineligible simply because they were better players and played for France.  For Algeria, Alexandre Villaplane was the only player that fitted criteria.  However, I ruled him ineligible because he was also a Pied-Noir (an Algerian of European descent).  Therefore, I also did not select Just Fontaine for  for the same reason.  
-- Ahmed Faras was probably Morocco's greatest player.  He allegedly wanted by Real Madrid and NY Cosmos according to an Arab site, but I could not confirm it.  He spent his entire career with Chabab Mohammédia.  He was named African Footballer of the Year in 1975.
-- Mounir El Hamdaoui was Dutch Player of the Year for the 2008-2009 season where he also finished as a top scorer in the league.  However, he only played 18 times for Morocco.  His career did not take off after that season.  In the ten seasons after his award, two other Dutch-born Moroccans also became the Dutch Player of the Year.  They were Hakim Ziyech and Karim El Ahmadi.
-- ST: Hassan Akesbi was one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of La Ligue. He was ranked 11th, but the statistics must be outdated.
-- Marouane Chamakh deserved to be on this squad, but I do not have the space for him.  He was famous among the young fans because he played for Arsenal.  He became the first player in Champions League history to score in six consecutive games.  He also played well with Bordeaux.  But the other forwards were more historical.I selected Driss Joumad over him. Joumad was a pioneer of Moroccan footballer playing in Europe.  He played in the 1940's in France.  

Starting lineup 
Formation: 4-3-3



  1. Bro you forgot Just Fountaine

    Also by the way, maybe you can make best 23 player with Moroccan descendant.

    1. Fontaine played for France. This blog was about Moroccan national team. Larbi Benbarek represented Morocco in football.

  2. I´m curious to see who gets in after this World Cup.
    Hakimi, Ziyech and Bounou are already in, but I´d definitely add Amrabat and Saïss to the 23.
    Ounahi is still pretty young, but he should definitely get an honorable mention. En-Nesyri at least an honorable mention as well, and maybe Boufal or Mazraoui too.

  3. Update after the 2022? Fifa World Cup? Sofyan Amrabat and Roman Saïss in the final squad and Ounahi and En-Nesyri as honorable mentions?