By Dylan Bettencourt
Morocco are not taking Bafana Bafana for granted after coach Walid Regragui named a star-studded squad for the 17 June Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at FNB Stadium.
With South Africa and Morocco have both already qualified for the 2023 Afcon finals, June’s match is a dead rubber.
But Regragui’s 28-man selection is still strong with figures like Paris Saint-Germain wing-back Achraf Hakimi, Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech, Nayef Aguerd, Sofyan Amrabat and Youssef En-Nesyri included.
Most of the players who will travel to South Africa were at the 2022 Fifa World Cup where the Atlas Lions became the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.
Regragui has, however, also called up in his squad recently-capped players and debutants including Fahd Moufi, Youssef Maleh, Youssef El Motie and Oussama Idrissi who has pledged international allegiance to Morocco instead of the Netherlands, his country of birth.
Morocco’s strong squad is expected to provide a huge test for Hugo Broos’ Bafana as they begin preparations for the Afcon finals.
Under Broos, Bafana has struggled against more established sides like Ghana, Guinea, France and Morocco who edged them 2-1 in the reverse fixture in June 2022.
South Africa will now have another opportunity to gauge if they are now better performers against big teams.
While Morocco has opted to travel with their full-strength squad, Broos has not selected the likes of Burnley forward Lyle Foster as well as the France-based duo of Lebo Mothiba and Lebogang Phiri.
Pictured above: Morocco players
Image source: Royal Moroccan Football Federation