Round of 16

CAN 2024: a Morocco somewhat diminished against South Africa

Morocco plays its round of 16 on Tuesday January 30 in San Pedro against South Africa. The Atlas Lions will have to do without their manager Sofiane Boufal, victim of a muscle injury in training. Scorer against Zambia on Wednesday January 24, Hakim Ziyech was injured and could also miss the match against South Africa.

Morocco's Hakim Ziyech celebrates his goal with his teammates during the match between Morocco and Zambia in San Pedro, January 24, 2024. © AP / Sunday Alamba

By: Farid Achache Follow


Read more

From our special correspondent in San Pedro,

These are two pieces of bad news for


. “

Boufal is out and his


is over. It happened in training. It's a muscle injury. Hakim Ziyech had his ankle affected against Zambia

 ,” announced coach Walid Regragui before this round of 16 against South Africa. For this first knockout match, the Atlas Lions could have hoped for better.

With the medical staff and Hakim


we work every hour and every minute to make him available to the team for tomorrow. So the decision will be made at the last minute or even at the last second tomorrow for the match 

,” said the coach. “ 

We are going to do our best to get him on the pitch, if we have to take a risk, we will take it

,” insisted Regragui.

We have the humility to think that we want our best players on the pitch and that we don't know what could happen. I think it would be disrespectful to

South Africa 

and football to say that we can do without Hakim Ziyech


Read alsoCAN 2024: Rankings, calendar and all results

 This CAN is full of surprises

For South Africa coach Hugo Broos, despite Boufal's withdrawal and Ziyech's injury, Morocco remains the number one team in Africa. “

 The absence of Boufal? They have great players who play for big clubs in Europe. But it is not because you have the best players and the best team that you win every time

,” explained the man who led the Cameroonians to the continental title during the 2017 CAN in Gabon. “

Either you win, or you are eliminated. Morocco had a fantastic World Cup. But this CAN is full of surprises. Big teams are already at home

,” said the Belgian coach. Bafana Bafana beat Morocco in June 2023 in Johannesburg during the qualifiers for this edition (2-1).

For Walid Regragui, this round of 16 marks the start of another competition. And Morocco no longer has “ 

the right to make mistakes

 ” as the moment of truth approaches. Above all, the Atlas Lions have often disappointed in recent years. The only title dates back to CAN 1976 in Ethiopia. Lease. More recently, it was during the 2004 CAN in Tunisia that the Moroccans got closer to the Holy Grail by playing the final against the Carthage Eagles who won this North African duel for Tunisia's first CAN title.


The World Cup in Qatar gave us experience. Everyone knows the history of Morocco in CAN, we will forget the past for the present. This is the most important thing

 ,” put Walid Regragui into perspective. South Africa remains the only nation to have beaten Morocco since the last World Cup.


Receive all the international news directly in your inbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application

Share :

Continue reading on the same themes:

  • Soccer

  • Morocco

  • South Africa

  • CAN 2024