Morocco AFCON 2023 squad reaction: Can the Atlas Lions recreate the magic of 2022?

Morocco created history by becoming the first African side to reach the World Cup Semi Finals in 2022. A little over a year on from their magical run in Qatar, they are hoping to end a 48 year wait to get their hands on this trophy. Our Morocco AFCON 2023 squad reaction assesses their chances.

Latest Morocco AFCON 2023 outright odds

Morocco AFCON 2023 squad reaction - odds

Morocco AFCON 2023 squad review

There aren’t many notable absentees in the Morocco AFCON 2023 squad which includes everyone in our predicted elevenThat suggests the Atlas Lions are in good shape to attack this tournament with the same players who shone at the end of 2022 in Qatar.

Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Sofyan Amrabat and Hakim Ziyech are among the big names in what is unquestionably one of the strongest squads in the tournament. However, unlike at the World Cup, they will have to deal with the pressure of high expectation levels over the next month in Ivory Coast.

Bono
Morocco players celebrate the win over Portugal at the 2022 World Cup – Photo by Icon Sport

Full Morocco AFCON 2023 squad

Goalkeepers

  • Yassine Bounou
  • Munir Mohamedi
  • Mehdi Benabid

Defenders

  • Achraf Hakimi
  • Noussair Mazraoui
  • Nayef Aguerd
  • Romain Saïss
  • Chadi Riad
  • Abdel Abqar
  • Yahia Attiyat Allah
  • Yunis Abdelhamid
  • Mohamed Chibi

Midfielders

  • Sofyan Amrabat
  • Azzedine Ounahi
  • Amine Harit
  • Ismael Saibari
  • Oussama El Azzouzi
  • Selim Amallah
  • Bilal El Khannous
  • Amir Richardson

Strikers

  • Hakim Ziyech
  • Tarik Tissoudali
  • Abde Ezzalzouli
  • Sofiane Boufal
  • Youssef En-Nesyri
  • Ayoub El Kaabi
  • Amine Adli

Surprise inclusions

Chadi Riad, Betis
Chadi Riad has impressed for Betis this term – Photo by Bagu Blanco/Icon Sport

While the core of the World Cup squad remains, Walid Regragui has attempted to inject some fresh blood into it. Uncapped central defenders Abdel Abqar and Chadi Riad are both included after impressive starts to the season in La Liga with Alaves and Real Betis respectively.

Chadi Riad looks a particularly bright talent. The 20 year old was only expected to play a bit-part role for Betis this season but injuries and the big money sale of Luiz Felipe to Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad days after the Spanish transfer window had shut, pushed him up the pecking order and Riad has done well, making 12 starts in the Spanish top flight.

In-form players

One concern for Morocco may be that a few too many of their star players aren’t on top of their game right now. Achraf Hakimi hasn’t produced his best football of late for PSG, Sofyan Amrabat has struggled to truly impose himself in Manchester while Youssef En-Nesyri hasn’t been prolific for Sevilla this term.

There’s better news in terms of inspirational keeper Yassine Bounou who leads the Saudi Pro League with 11 clean sheets. Hakim Ziyech also takes a bit of form into the tournament having scored two and set up one in Galatasaray’s 3-3 thriller against Manchester United in the Champions League in November, although he’s not had a brilliant season overall.

One man who is enjoying a good season in front of goal is Tarik Tissoudali of Gent who averages a goal every 108 minutes in the Belgian Pro League.

Tactical analysis

Morocco AFCON 2023
Morocco's players and manager Walid Regragui at the 2022 World Cup – Photo by Icon Sport

Despite those concerns over player form, we can expect a familiar looking Morocco team to take to the field in the group stage and boss Walid Regragui will be hoping things click quickly back into place with the added pressure and excitement of tournament football.

For various reasons, they haven’t played a huge amount of football since the 2022 World Cup, so expect Morocco to look to find some rhythm in the group stage and they’ll be favourites to win all their games, although the matchday two showdown with DR Congo should provide the sternest test.

Morocco are likely to go 4-3-3 in most of their games with En-Nesyri the central striker and Hakim Ziyech on one side of him, while there’ll be competition for the other wide role with Bayer Leverkusen’s Amine Adli, Abde Ez of Real Betis and Tarik Tissoudali of Gent among the options.

Current odds

Morocco AFCON squad
Photo by Icon Sport

Morocco are available at 6/1 (7.00) to win the tournament and most bookies have them as favourites or joint favourites along with Senegal.

This could be a wide open competition though with lots of capable African sides and they are still odds against at 13/8 (2.62) just to reach the Semi Finals with things likely to get much tougher once they get out of the group.

Morocco AFCON trivia

Although they reached the World Cup Semi Finals in 2022, Morocco haven’t reached the last four of this competition since a run to the Final in Tunisia 20 years ago.

Morocco have only been crowned African champions once and that was way back in 1976.

That tournament was settled by a league format with Morocco only needing to draw their final game against Guinea to lift the trophy. They did that, but only courtesy of a dramatic 86th minute equaliser from Ahmed Makrouh.

Morocco have been eliminated in the AFCON group stage six times since the turn of the century, only once getting past the Quarter Finals.

Morocco will host the tournament next year with AFCON 2025 set to be only the second edition to take place in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer.


Avatar of Mark Sochon
Mark Sochon

Mark is a freelance football writer based in Madrid. He regularly attends and covers La Liga matches around Spain, whilst also following football across Europe.