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, he was the African Player of the Year in 1986 after leading Morocco to the second round of the WC 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. 

Tahar El-Kalej
GK: Allal Ben Kassou
He 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.

GK: Mohammed Hazzaz 
He also played for MAS Fez. He also represented Morocco at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and World Cup Finals in 1970.

RB:  Larbi Aherdane 
He 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.

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: Medhi Benatia
At the time of writing, he is considered one of the top center-backs in Africa.  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.

CB: Mustapha Yaghcha 
In 2006, he 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, and also played for CS Chênois and Servette FC in the Swiss Super League.  He went to the 1972 Olympics.

CB: Mustapha El Biyaz
In 2006, he was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.  He played club football with KAC Marrakech and had a brief spell with F.C. Penafiel in the Portugal.  He went to the WC finals in 1986.
Mustapha El Biyaz
CB: Mustapha Bettache
He started his career with Wydad Casablanca. 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 . He earned 8 caps between 1960 and 1963.

LB: Salem Ben Miloud
He started his career in Morocco with Wydad Casablanca.  He moved to France in 1946.  He spent 10 seasons with Olympique de Marseille. He played a single season with Toulouse FC before retiring.

CM: Aziz Bouderbala 
He made a name at the WC finals in 1986.  He was voted as the second best player at the African Player of the Year ward in 1986. 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. 
Aziz Bouderbala

CB/DM: Tahar El Khalej
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, he 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 for Morocco in the 1963 Olympics and 1970 World Cup. He was also trained as a soldier.

CM: Abdelmajid Dolmy 
Nicknamed Maestro, he earned 140 caps for Morocco and went to the WC Finals in 1986.  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
He was capped 62 times. He represented Morocco at the 1992 Summer Olympics and 1998 WC Finals.  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. 

He started with Raja Casablanca.  In 1985, he moved to play for FC Lausanne-Sport. He spent his most of his professional career in France, playing for St. Etienne, Nice, Lens, etc. He was capped 46 times.  He played in the 1986 and 1994 WC finals.

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 
He was named African Footballer of the Year in 1985. he represented Morocco at the World Cup Finals in 1986. At club level, Mohammed Timoumi won the CAF Champions League with FAR Rabat. He also played in Spain and Belgium.  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
Hadji grew up in France, but chose to represent Morocco in 1993. He went to the WC Finals in 1994 and 1998.  After the WC 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
He is 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 WC Finals. He spent all of his playing career with his native Chabab Mohammédia.
Ahmed Faras
ST: Hassan Akesbi
He went to play 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 Monaco and Rimes. 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
Joumad began playing football with Wydad Casablanca in the 1940s where he joined the senior side at age 18. In 1954, he moved to France to play for FC Girondins de Bordeaux. He suffered a serious knee injury, which ended his career after a single season.

ST: Salaheddine Bassir
He earned 52 caps.  He played for Morocco and went to the 1998 World Cup, where he scored two goals in the 3–0 win against Scotland.  He played for Raja Casablanca, Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Deportivo La Coruña (Spain), 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. 
-- 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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