Morocco Football Coach Calls Up 26 Players for Critical Gabon Face-Off

Rabat- The Morocco national football team coach, Hervé Renard, has called up 26 players for their decisive match against Gabon on October 7.The game, due to be held in Casablanca’s Mohammed VI stadium, will mark the fourth round of the African World Cup qualifiers. Group C, where Morocco is competing along with Ivory Coast and Gabon, is witnessing an intense competition between the three teams. Mali, having lost chances to qualify, will also be facing Ivory Coast on October 8.The Moroccan Royal Football Federation (FRMF) announced on Tuesday the list of the 26 players selected by Renard for the upcoming game. The Atlas Lions will seek to defeat the Panthers to get one more step closer to booking their ticket to the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer.The list of the selected players included some surprises. Amine Harit, the young French-Moroccan talent who freshly announced his decision to play for his country of origin, has been called up by Renard.The Shalcke 04 winger is a rising talent. He was called up to be part of the Moroccan squad just a few days after he announced his choice to play for Morocco. Other more experienced players such as Mehdi Carcela and Adil Taarabt, who was expected to make his come back to the team, were not picked by the French coach to be among the 26 players list.While most called-up names play for European clubs, a few from the local Moroccan football league were also selected. Among them is the talented left-winger of Wydad Casablanca’s Ismail El Hadad, who will be making his comeback to the national team following an absence due to injury.Notably, the 26 players list picked by Renard include 10 attacking midfielders, wingers, and strikers.The Frenchman will have to choose between four players, Aziz Bouhaddouz, Khalid Boutaib, Rachid Alioui, and Mamoun Mahi, to select the striker to start the game against Gabon.Morocco has six points from four games. Ivory Coast is still the group’s leader with seven points. The Moroccan squad, which missed a golden opportunity to become the group’s leader in their last game against Mali earlier in September, will have to win their upcoming game and hope that their main rival loses against Mali or at least scores a draw.The clash with Gabon will not be an easy walk for Moroccans either, as the Panthers, being in third place with five points, will be looking for victory in Casablanca.