The Diaspora Players who are making waves with atlas lions of Morocco at the Qatar 2022 World Cup

One open secret about Morocco’s success at the #FIFAWorldCup is that their squad has been built on diaspora talent. 15 of the 26 man squad submitted by Walid Regragui were born overseas.

Here’s a summary of dual nationals who chose to play for Morocco 🧵

• Yassine Bounou has spent most of his career in Spain although he was born in Montreal, Canada. He was eligible to play for either Morocco or Canada and chose the former. He has been a pillar at the back for the North Africans at this #FIFAWorldCup

• Munir Mohamedi was born in Spain and switched his allegiance to Morocco in 2014. He was Morocco’s number 1 at the 2017 AFCON and played the 2018 WC game vs Iran. He’s played second fiddle this #FIFAWorldCup but stepped in vs Belgium and kept a clean sheet when Bounou was ill.

• Born in Spain to parents from Morocco, Achraf Hakimi represented Morocco at u20 and u23 levels before making his international debut in 2016 aged 17. He’s since played at the 2018 and 2022 #FIFAWorldCup for the Atlas Lions.

• Noussair Mazraoui was born in Netherlands but has been playing for Morocco since 2017.
He was also involved with the Morocco u20 side month prior and has made 19 caps for the senior team.

• Romain Saïss, who was born and raised in France to a Moroccan father and a French mother, chose to represent the Morocco national team. He made his debut in a 1–0 loss to Togo in 2012. He has since gone on to make 70+ caps and has been the captain of the Atlas Lions since 2019.

• Selim Amallah was born in Belgium and is of Moroccan and Italian descent. He chose to represent the Morocco national team at international level and made his competitive debut in a 0–0 draw with Mauritania in 2019.

• Sofyan Amrabat was born in the Netherlands to parents of Moroccan descent. He represented the Netherlands at youth level in 2010, before switching allegiance to Morocco’s youth national team in 2013, representing them at senior level from 2017.

• Born in Belgium, 18-year-old Bilal El Khannous is of Moroccan descent. A former Belgium youth international, El Khannous switched to represent the Morocco U20s. Despite being part of Morocco’s 26-man squad for the 2022 #FIFAWorldCup , he’s yet to make his senior debut.

• Born in Morocco and raised in Spain, Ezzalzouli Abde represents Morocco at international level. He played the Morocco u20 team at the 2020 Arab Cup u20 – scoring two goals in five games. There were concerns he might play for Spain after rejecting a call-up for the 2021 AFCON.

• Zakaria Aboukhlal was born in the Netherlands to a Moroccan mother and Libyan father. He played for the Dutch youth teams, rejected the chance to play for Libya before deciding to feature for Morocco. He scored on his Morocco debut vs Central African Republic.

• Sofiane Boufal was born in France and was eligible to play for Les Bleus. He made his debut for Morocco in 2016 and he has been an integral part of the team since.

• Ilias Chair was born in Belgium and is of Moroccan descent. He was called up to the Morocco U20 squad for a week-long training camp in Rabat in June 2017. And then later represented Morocco at u23 level before making his senior debut against Ghana in 2021.

• Walid Cheddira was born in Italy and is of Moroccan descent. He was called up to play for the Morocco national team for two friendlies against Chile and Paraguay in September 2022. He made his debut against Chile as a second-half substitute in a 2–0 win.

• Anass Zaroury was born in Belgium and played with their youth teams up to the Belgium U21s. On 16 November 2022, Zaroury was officially invited to to replace the injured Amine Harit, who suffered an injury one week before the #FIFAWorldCup starts.

• Born in the Netherlands to a Moroccan family, Hakim Ziyech was eligible to play for either Netherlands or Morocco. He played for Dutch youth teams i.e. u19s, u20s and u21s. However, he opted to play for Morocco at senior level and received his first call-up in May 2015.

Source:Jon Boafo

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