Moroccan U-17 team arrives in Algeria for AFCON

On Friday afternoon, the Moroccan national U-17 men’s football team arrived safely in Algeria ahead of their AFCON group B opener against South Africa on Sunday. The team, known as the young Atlas, was permitted to travel by the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) after Algeria granted approval for them to take a direct flight to Constantine, following FIFA’s intervention. In February, a similar request was denied prompting Morocco to withdraw from CHAN23 in Algeria.

The young Atlas had been in residential training in Morocco for the past month and departed early Friday from the Rabat-Sale International Airport, ready for the continental showcase. This is their third time participating in the AFCON, with their best performance being a bronze medal in 2013. The competition will commence on Saturday and run until May 19th.

Morocco is scheduled to face Nigeria and Zambia on May 3rd and 6th, respectively, in their group matches. On Thursday night, FRMF President Faouzi Lekjaa held a meeting with the team, along with senior team head Wallid Regragui, to motivate the players.

Morocco’s participation in this year’s AFCON U17 in Algeria was uncertain after their CHAN team withdrew from defending their title in Algeria in February due to diplomatic tension between the two North African neighbors.

The tournament will kick off with host Algeria facing Somalia in group A on Saturday, followed by Senegal squaring off with Congo on Sunday in the other fixture of the group. Cameroon will open their campaign in group C on May 1st against South Sudan, while Mali will tackle Burkina Faso in the other fixture of the day.