Vahid Halilhodzic Has Hailed Spaniard Munir El Haddadi And German Aymen Barkok

Midfielder Barkok and forward El Haddadi were permitted to switch loyalties because they have Moroccan parents.

“They are the type of players the national squad needs,” said the coach before a high-profile friendly against Senegal behind closed doors in Rabat Friday.

Here, AFP Sport rounds up national team, league and cup news from the continent.

Morocco

Halilhodzic says no pressure was put on El Haddadi and Barkok to play for Morocco, who are ranked fifth in Africa behind Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria and Algeria.

“Munir and Aymen are here because they are attached to their country of origin. They are serious and want to achieve for Morocco,” said the 68-year-old coach.

Sevilla forward El Haddadi was capped once by Spain six years ago and Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Barkok represented Germany at three age-group levels.

Four-time African champions Ghana will unveil a new strip when they meet Mali Friday in Turkish Mediterranean resort Antalya.

The ‘away’ shirt is a mix of bright yellow and black rectangles while the ‘home’ version includes white, grey and black rectangles.

After playing Mali, the Black Stars will remain in Antalya and play 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar Monday.

French coach Hubert Velud named a 25-man Sudan squad for friendlies against Tunisia and Togo on October 9 and 12 which reflects the domestic dominance of Al Hilal and Al Merrikh.

The championship invariably ends in a duel between the Omdurman clubs for the title and the only surprise is that current leaders Hilal have six players and second-place Merrikh nine.

Velud relies heavily on local talent with only one Europe-based footballer included — forward Yasin Hamed from Hungarian second-tier club Nyiregyhaza Spartacus.

Five-time African champions Zamalek scraped into the Egyptian FA Cup quarter-finals with a comeback 2-1 victory over Smouha in neutral Ismailia

Emam Ashour cancelled the early second half lead Salah Mohsen gave Smouha and Ahmed ‘Zizo’ Sayed snatched the winning goal six minutes from the end of extra time.

The FA Cup last-eight line-up includes Al Ahly, Zamalek, Pyramids and Al Mokawloon Al Arab, the top four clubs in the Egyptian Premier League with three rounds remaining.

South Africa

Mamelodi Sundowns have replaced Pitso Mosimane, who quit last week to coach African and Egyptian giants Al Ahly, with two of his former assistants at the Pretoria club.

Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena were named by club chairman Patrice Motsepe as successors to Mosimane, who won 11 trophies in eight years at Sundowns.

“We wanted to recognise the ability of our coaches by appointing South Africans and if they cannot reach a consensus, the opinion of Mngqithi will prevail,” Motsepe said.

Mauritania

France-born Mauritania coach Corentin Martins says an October 13 friendly against Senegal near Dakar will tell him where his team stands in Africa.

“Senegal are ranked first in the continent and we are 22nd and I want to see if those statistics are a true reflection of the teams,” he said.

Martins was unconcerned that Mauritania have not played for 10 months due to the coronavirus, promising that his players “will find their rhythm quickly”.

Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe and V Club, one of whom have been champions since 2009, experienced contrasting starts to the 2020/2021 Vodacom Ligue 1 season.

Defending champions Mazembe could only draw 0-0 with Blessing while V Club defeated Rangers 3-1 through goals from Lilepo Makabi, Jeremie Mumbere and Makusu Mundele.

The 2019/2020 season was cancelled last March due to the coronavirus with Mazembe topping the standings followed by V Club.

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