Adel Taarabt could play his first Morocco game in five years

Morocco’s new head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has retained Adel Taarabt in his 27-man squad for two upcoming friendly internationals.

Halilhodzic has cut his initial training squad from 46 for the games against Burkina Faso on 6 September and Niger four days later.

Taarabt was last called up in 2016 by Badou Zaki but the Benfica player has not played for the Atlas Lions since a 1-1 with Gabon in a friendly in March 2014.

Despite signing for the Portuguese club in 2015 from England’s QPR the 30-year-old only made his debut for them in March this year.

There is also a recall for Standard Liege midfielder Mehdi Carcella, who was not part of the squad at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

However there are no places for Mbark Boussoufa, Karim El Ahmadi nor Medhi Benatia on the 27-man list.

Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui and Youssef En-Nesyri, who all played at the Nations Cup in Egypt, will play for the under-23 side as they face Mali in crucial qualifiers.

A win over two legs against Mali will see Morocco progress to the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations, which will decide the teams going to the men’s football tournament at the Olympics in Tokyo next year.

Morocco Squad:

Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Malaga, Spain), Yassine Bounou (Gerona, Spain), Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti (Wydad Casablanca), Anas Zniti (Raja Casablanca)

Defenders: Omar Boutaib (Raja Casablanca), Fouad Chafik (Dijon, France), Issam Chebake (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Badr Banoun (Raja Casablanca), Jawad Yamiq (Genoa, Italy), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Abdelhamid Yunis (Reims, France), Abdelkarim Baadi (Hassania Agadir), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce, Turkey)

Midfielders: Youssef Ait Bennasser (St Etienne, France), Soufian Amrabat (Hellas Verona, Italy), Mehdi Bourabia (Sassuolo, Italy), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray, Turkey), Walid El Karti (Wydad Casablanca), Mehdi Oubila (HUSA)

Forwards: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Nordin Amrabat (Al Nasr, Saudi Arabia), Adel Taarabt (Benfica, Portugal), Walid Azaro (Al Ahly, Egypt), Rachid Alioui (Angers, France), Mehdi Carcela (Standard Liege, Belgium), Amine Harit (Schalke, Germany), Soufiane Boufal (Southampton, England)

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