CHAN hero Ayoub El Kaabi rewarded with Morocco call-up

African Nations Championship hero Ayoub El Kaabi has been included in a full Morocco squad for the first time after being named in the 28-man selection revealed by Herve Renard on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old was one of the Atlas Lions star performers during the North Africans’ successful CHAN campaign on home soil earlier this year.

He scored nine goals during the hosts’ run to the title, breaking the record for goals scored in the single edition of the tournament in the process.

The Renaissance Sportive de Berkane hitman has never before featured for the full Morocco side, but will now get the opportunity to stake a claim for a World Cup berth in upcoming friendlies against Serbia and Uzbekistan.

The Lions meet Serbia in Turin on March 23, before facing the Asians in Casablanca four days later.

Elsewhere, Raja Casablanca defender Badr Banoun – the captain of the CHAN side – has also been included, while the domestic top flight is also represented by Ahmed Tagnaouti of IRT Tanger.

Al-Ahly frontman Walid Azaro has also been handed the opportunity to impress, although there’s no place for Achraf Bencharfki, now of Al-Hilal FC, the star of last year’s CAF Champions League.

Medhi Benatia, Mbark Boussoufa and Hakim Ziyech are the stand-out names in a Morocco side brimming with quality and experience.

Morocco have been pitted alongside Spain, Portugal and Iran in this summer’s World Cup, their first since 1998.

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