Morocco will face Namibia in Match 7 of the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 tournament on June 23, 2019, at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt.
Morocco and Namibia are bracketed in Group D along with Ivory Coast and South Africa. The Top 2 finishers in Group D will move on to the knockout stage together with the Top 4 third place teams. The Group D winner will play the Group B/E/F third placer while the Runner-up of this group will be pitted against the winners of Group E. If the third placer here makes it, they will be matched up with the Group B winner.
Morocco (Group D)
After making the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Morocco heads to Egypt for their 17th appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. The Atlas Lions were the 1976 winners of the AFCON and were quarterfinalists in 2017. They earned their pass to the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 by topping Group B of the AFCON qualifying tournament.
Coach Herve Renard picked a squad composed mostly of European-based players like on-loan Borussia Dortmund defender Achraf Hakimi who made the team after recovering from injury. Ajax Amsterdam star Hakim Ziyech headlines the Moroccan team after a spectacular season for the Dutch Giants where he posted 21 goals and 24 assists across all competition.
- Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Girona/ESP), Mounir el Kajoui (Malaga/ESP), Reda Tagnaouti (Wydad Casablanca)
- Defenders: Yunis Abdelhamid (Reims/FRA), Medhi Benatia (Al-Duhail/QAT), Manuel da Costa (Al Ittihad/KSA), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce/TUR), Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Noussair Mazraoui (Ajax/NED), Romain Saiss (Wolves/ENG)
- Midfielders: Karim el Ahmadi (Ittihad/KSA), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray/TUR), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Saint-Etienne/FRA), Mehdi Bourabia (Sassuolo/ITA), Mbark Boussoufa (Al Shabab/KSA), Faycal Fajr (Caen/FRA)
- Forwards: Nordin Amrabat, Abderrazak Hamdallah (both Al Nassr/KSA), Sofiane Boufal (Celta Vigo/ESP), Khalid Boutaib (Zamalek/EGY), Osama Idrissi (Alkmaar/NED), Youssef En-Nesyri (Leganes/ESP), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax/NED)
Odds from Titanbet.com as of 6/19/19
Namibia (Group D)
Namibia will be making its first appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations since 2008 and only their second in the last 11 installments of the tournament. They have never made it past the group stage in three previous trips to the AFCON final. The Brave Warriors qualified for this tournament after finishing as Group K runners-up.
Team manager Ricardo Mannetti’s AFCON squad includes Benson Shilongo who plays for the Egyptian club Ismaily. The 27-year old forward made a total of 39 appearances for Smouha and Ismaily across all competitions and managed to produce 8 goals and 10 assists in those games. Defender Ryan Nyambe of the Blackburn Rovers and Riaan Hanamub of Jomo Cosmo.
- Goalkeepers: Loydt Kazapua (Maccabi/RSA), Maximilian Mbaeva (Golden Arrows/RSA), Ratanda Mbazuvara (African Stars)
- Defenders: Ananias Gebhardt (Baroka/RSA), Charles Hambira (Tura Magic), Riaan Hanamub (Jomo Cosmos/RSA), Danzil Haoseb (Highlands Park/RSA), Ivan Kamberipa (African Stars), Ryan Nyambe (Blackburn Rovers/ENG)
- Midfielders: Ronald Ketjijere, Marcel Papama (both African Stars), Willy Stephanus, Petrus Shitembi (both Lusaka Dynamos/ZAM), Dynamo Fredericks (Black Africa), Larry Horaeb (Tura Magic), Deon Hotto (Bidvest Wits/RSA), Absalom Iimbondi (United Africa Tigers), Joslyn Kamatuka (Cape Umoya Utd/RSA)
- Forwards: Isaskar Gurirab (Life Fighters), Iitamunua Keimuine (Dire Dawa City/ETH), Peter Shalulile (Highlands Park/RSA), Benson Shilongo (Ismaily/EGY), Manfred Starke (Jena/GER)
The soccer betting odds have Morocco as favorites in this match although the Atlas Lions are in a funk right now after losing their last three matches. Morocco lost 0-1 to Argentina in a Friendly last March and that didn’t come as a surprise. But losses to non-AFCON-teams Gambia (0-1) last week and Sunday’s 2-3 loss to Zambia have some quarters a little worried about them.
On the other hand, Namibia has won four out of its last seven matches with one draw and two losses over that period. However, three of their wins came against the same team in Mozambique, who did not qualify for the AFCON this year or in 2017. Head to head with Morocco, Namibia has not beaten Morocco in six matches. The last time they met, the Atlas Lions defeated the Brave Warriors 2-0 in at the Africa Nations Cup Championship in January 2018.
Namibia head coach Mannetti warned their opponents that even small dogs have teeth but in reality, Morocco is still the pick here. The Atlas Lions have improved significantly under Renard this is a team that is well-equipped to win in Egypt. They have two options at almost every position and although they have some drop-off in quality in some positions, they have the depth to go deep in this tournament. As far as the small dogs are concerned, I don’t think Morocco is going to worry about their teeth. Prediction: Morocco