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Morocco and South Africa kick off their respective 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaigns with a heavyweight clash at the Stade Moulay Abdallah on Thursday.
The teams have been drawn in Group K of the qualifiers, where they will contend with Liberia for two automatic slots at next year’s continental event following Zimbabwe’s disqualification by FIFA.
Morocco were left red-faced in their most recent outing, which was a 3-0 defeat against the United States of America on Wednesday at the TQL Stadium.
Goals from Brenden Aaronson, Timothy Weah and Haji Wright left Vahid Halilhodzic‘s men red-faced in a largely one-sided affair in Cincinnati.
The Atlas Lions have been beaten for what is only a third time in the last two years, and they will be seeking an immediate response.
Next up is the challenge of an opposing side who have failed to win any of the last four encounters between the teams since winning each of the first two.
Unbeaten on their own turf since a 3-2 loss at the hands of Gabon back in 2019, Thursday’s hosts will head into the game with the wind in their sails and rightly so
The Bafana Bafana have now failed to win any of their last three matches while also failing to find the back of the net in that time.
Aiming to secure a return to the AFCON after missing out on the last edition, Thursday’s visitors will need to turn things around at both ends as soon as possible
Youssef En Nesyri was named as a substitute in Morocco’s defeat against the USA, but the Sevilla man is expected to lead the line on Thursday.
Other than that, we can see Vahid Halilhodzic naming the same starting XI from the aforementioned game, as he will be seeking a reaction from his players.
Hugo Broos has shuffled the pack significantly for the first round of the qualifiers, naming a host of uncapped players in his 28-man squad.
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Terrence Mashego has been released from the national-team camp and will not be travelling with the rest of his teammates after he sustained a knee injury.
Morocco possible starting lineup:
Bono; Masina, Aguerd, Saiss, Mmaee, Hakimi; Ounahi, Amrabat, Taarabt; El Kaabi, En Nesyri
South Africa possible starting lineup:
Williams; Maela, Mobbie, Lakay, Phete; Morena, Maart, Maboe; Tau, Dolly,