Nickname: Atlas Lions
Association formed: 1955
Previous Afcon Appearances: 15 (1972, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2013)
Best result: Champions (1976)
Coach: Herve Renard
Leading scorers: all-time –Ahmed Faras (75)
Most appearances: all-time –Noureddine Naybet (130)
FIFA ranking: 57 (10th in CAF)
THE BIG QUESTION
Morocco boost one of the successful coaches in the Afcon tournament, Herve Renard winning two titles with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015. Now the ‘BIG’ question. Can he deliver for Morocco?
WHO ARE THEY?
The Morocco national football team represents Morocco in international association football and has done so since the 1950s. They were the first African team to win a group at the World Cup, which they did in 1986, finishing ahead of Portugal, Poland, and England. They were also the first African team to make it to second round barely losing to eventual runners-up West Germany 1–0 in 1986.
TOP THREE PLAYERS
Mehdi Benatia: The 29-year-old captain, who made his debut for the Atlas Lions in 2008, is an inspirational and imposing figure. His recent experience playing in the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and UEFA Champions League should come in handy during the three-week tournament.
Nordin Amrabat: Looking for an X-factor in this team? This might just be the man to provide it. The exciting winger, who has added defensive qualities to his game this season, has great ability on the ball, but adds a versatility extra which could be key when the need arises.
Youssef El-Arabi: Despite moving to the Middle East, the front man’s goals haven’t dried up for both club and country as he impressively continues to lead the line. A return of 15 goals in 39 outings says enough about how lethal this man can be.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
The Atlas Lions topped group F with five wins and one draw to earn 16 points, scoring 10 goals and impressively conceding just once. In the process, busting Cape Verde’s giant-killing myth.
FULL 23-MAN SQUAD AFCON
GOALKEEPERS: Munir Mohammadi (Numancia, Spain), Yassine Bounou (Real Saragosse, Spain), Yassine El Kharroubi (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
DEFENDERS: Medhi Benatia (Juventus, Italy), Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton, England), Marouane Da Costa (Olympiakos, Grèece), Fouad Chafik (Dijon, France), Hamza Mendyl (Lille, France), Nabil Dirar (Monaco, France), Amine Attouchi (WAC Casablanca).
MIDFIELDERS: Youssef Aït Bennasser (Nancy, France), Mounir Obbadi (Lille, France), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord Rotterdam, Holland), Faycal Fajr (Deportivo La Corogne, Spain), Mbark Boussoufa (Al-Jazira, EAU), Sofiane Boufal (Southampton, England), Nordin Amrabat (Watford, England), Mehdi Carcela (Grenada, Spain).
ATTACKERS: Khalid Boutaïb (RC Strasbourg, France), Youssef En-Nessyri (Malaga, Spain), Rachid Alioui (Nîmes, France), Youssef El Arabi (Lekhwiya, Qatar), Aziz Bouhaddouz (Sanit Pauli, Germany).