Ayoub El Kaabi, the highest scorer on the current African Nations Championship (CHAN), has been included in Morocco’s 28-man squad for this month’s World Cup warm-up matches in opposition to Serbia and Uzbekistan.
El Kaabi, a Moroccan second-tier footballer final season, scored a record nine goals as hosts Morocco won the CHAN for home-based players last month.
The 24-year-old, uncapped at full worldwide stage, performs for Renaissance Berkane.
He’s one in every of three home-based players named in coach Herve Renard’s squad, which can be boosted by 25 abroad gamers.
Morocco will play Serbia in Turin, Italy on 23 March after which Uzbekistan at dwelling in Casablanca 4 days later.
Renard, although, has missed two stars from the profitable CHAN squad, Italy-based defender Jawad El Yamiq and Wydad Casablanca winger Ismail Haddad.
Different notable omissions embrace Achraf Bencharki, Oussama Tannane and Youssef El-Arabi, whereas former Dutch youth internationals and Utrecht duo of Yassin Ayoub and Zakaria Labyad have been recalled.
Other than the brand new faces, Renard has largely saved religion with the Atlas Lions squad that secured the 2018 World Cup ticket.
Star sextet of captain Mehdi Benatia, Younes Belhanda, Nabil Dirar, Hakim Ziyech, Sofiane Boufal and Khalid Boutaib is included.
The nation’s soccer authority, FRMF, continues to be engaged on extra warm-up fixtures for the 1976 African champions, earlier than their opening Group B conflict on the event in Russia on 15 June in opposition to Iran in St Petersburg.
Morocco and Iran have performed one another twice prior to now with the Atlas Lions profitable each matches together with one on penalties.
They face reigning European champions Portugal on 20 June in Moscow earlier than a remaining group conflict in opposition to 2010 World Cup winners Spain in Kaliningrad on 25 June.
The North Africans have beforehand topped a bunch involving Portugal, after they completed above England and Poland within the 1986 World Cup.
Morocco, who underneath Frenchman Herve Renard accomplished their remaining qualifying marketing campaign with most factors and no objectives conceded, final appeared in a World Cup in 1998 in France.
Morocco’s 28-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia, Spain), Yassine Bounou (Girona, Spain), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger)
Defenders: Mehdi Benatia (Juventus, Italy), Ghanem Saiss (Wolves, England), Achraf Hakimi (Actual Madrid, Spain), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Badr Banoun (Raja Casablanca), Manuel da Costa (Başakşehir, Turkey), Oualid El Hajjam (Amiens, France), Hamza Mendyl (Lille, France)
Midfielders: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax, Netherlands), Fayçal Fajr (Getafe, Spain), Soufiane Boufal (Southampton, England), Nordin Amrabat (Leganés, Spain), Karim El Ahmadi and Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord, Netherlands), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray, Turkey), Mbark Boussoufa (Al Jazeera, UAE), Amine Harit (Schalke, Germany), Zakaria Labyad and Yassin Ayoub (Utrecht, Netherlands), Youssef Aït-Bennasser (Caen, France)
Forwards: Khalid Boutaïb (Malatyaspor, Turkey), Yacine Bammou (Nantes, France), Walid Azaro (Al Ahly, Egypt), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Aziz Bouhaddouz (Saint Pauli, Germany)