Morocco

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40-year old Mhamed Bennani calls it a day

Tangier Gazette
May 22, 2003

A pillar of Marrakesh Al-Fatah, and a 5-match Moroccan national — Mhamed Bennani has decided to call it time on his illustrious domestic career following Al-Fatah's 'disastrous' National T20 campaign. The 40-year old veteran all-rounder was hopeful of breaking back into the national side just in time for the Cricket World Cup, and while the Al-Fatah we saw this season were a huge improvement from their past self, Bennani's own performances were found lacking, especially in 50-over cricket.

Morocco were admitted into WCC at the twilight of Bennani's career, and while the Bennani the world saw was a shell of his former self, he was still good enough to break into the national side for 3 Test matches and 2 One-Day Internationals. Unfortunately for him, his weaknesses were exposed and exploited in those matches.

He averaged 7.00 with the bat in ODIs, and could only manage a solitary scalp. In Test cricket, his batting average improved to 22.67, and it was still underwhelming compared to the likes of Abderrahim Zniber and Zamen Ibn Al-Hasan. Apart from boasting subpar batting numbers, he also remained wicketless in red ball cricket.

With the emergence of Youssouf Berrada, now a permanent member of the national side for his wicket-keeping skills alone, Mhamed Bennani had very little hope of breaking back into the national side, and yet he still trusted himself to try for one last time by putting up undeniable performances in Al Botola and the Moroccan Cup. Heartbreakingly for him however, he failed to live up to his own standards from the past and found himself barely a permanent member of his own domestic side.

As age catches up with the Marrakesh stalwart, and all hope fades away of him donning national colours for Morocco once again, maybe even at the Cricket World Cup, Mhamed Bennani has decided to make the incredibly difficult decision of announcing his retirement from all forms of professional cricket, effective immediately.
 

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The Atlas Lions bring African heat to Danish summer with blockbuster tour

Tangier Gazette
May 29, 2003

In what promises to be an exhilarating cricketing spectacle, The Atlas Lions have confirmed their visit to Denmark, where they will lock horns with Denmark A in a blockbuster tour through the Danish summer. The tour will feature three First-Class matches, five List A matches, and three Twenty20 matches between the two teams.

The Danish Cricket-Union have officially revealed the tour schedule, sending Moroccan cricket fans into an ecstasy-induced frenzy. The tour itinerary reveals the tour start-date to be June 7th, with the First-Class series kicking-off the tour. Following the conclusion of the three-match First-Class series, the five List A matches will be played, and in relatively quick time, with the entire five-match series scheduled to run from July 3rd to July 9th. The adrenaline will continue to flow from there, with the three Twenty20 matches scheduled on back-to-back-to-back days on July 13th, 14th and 15th concluding the tour.

As the countdown to the tour commences, all eyes turn to the squad selection for The Atlas Lions. The announcement of the squad is eagerly awaited, with anticipation building up to a crescendo. The squad revelation is slated to coincide with the conclusion of the ongoing India A tour, following the fifth and final List A match on May 31st. Following which, The Atlas Lions will swiftly embark on their journey to Denmark, all ready to embrace the challenges that lie ahead.

For the Moroccan players, this tour represents a monumental opportunity to showcase their skills on the international stage. With the Cricket World Cup looming on the horizon, each match will serve as a crucial platform for players to stake their claim for a spot in the national squad. The tour provides a chance for emerging talents to shine and for seasoned campaigners to reaffirm their position, thereby enriching the depth and competitiveness of Moroccan cricket.

However, the tour is not just about Morocco A; it also presents a significant opportunity for the Danish players to make a compelling case for their selection in the national side. With both nations eyeing success in the upcoming Cricket World Cup, every encounter between their A sides holds immense significance. The matches will undoubtedly witness fierce competition, as players from both sides strive to leave an indelible mark to earn recognition on the grandest of stages.

As cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the commencement of the tour, the stage is set for a blockbuster summer of cricketing action. With The Atlas Lions of Morocco poised to take on Denmark A in a series of captivating encounters, fans can expect thrills, drama, and unforgettable moments on the field. The tour not only holds the promise of enthralling cricket but also embodies the essence of sportsmanship and camaraderie, epitomizing the true spirit of the game of cricket.
 

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MCF in early talks with Cricket Scotland for ODI tour

Tangier Gazette
June 5, 2003

The Moroccan Cricket Federation (MCF) is in early talks with Cricket Scotland for an exciting ODI tour. The tour is planned for the end of July, following the EUROCON Euro Cup in Norway. While details are still being ironed out, it is expected that Morocco will visit Scotland for two ODI matches, most likely in Ayr and Dundee.

If the tour is finalized, it will mark the first instance of these two sides going up against each other in international cricket since their respective admissions into the World Cricket Conference in 2001 and 2002. It will also be Morocco's first limited-overs bilateral series in the ongoing Future Tours Programme outside of Casablanca Cup.

As fans of Moroccan cricket eagerly await further updates on the potential tour, one thing is certain – if the tour does come to fruition, it promises to be a memorable occasion for players, fans, and stakeholders alike, with Morocco and Scotland, two of cricket's fastest rising nations going toe-to-toe in an enthralling series.
 

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Morocco confirm 2-match Scotland visit

Tangier Gazette
June 12, 2003

The Moroccan Cricket Federation (MCF) have confirmed the details of a 2-match ODI tour to Scotland, with the matches preliminarily scheduled for the 28th and 31st of July. As reported, the two ODIs will be played in Ayr and Dundee respectively. Following the EUROCON Euro Cup in Norway, this tour will be Scotland's first bilateral.

This tour will mark the first instance of these two sides going up against each other in international cricket since their respective admissions into the World Cricket Conference in 2001 and 2002. It will also be Morocco's first limited-overs bilateral series in the ongoing Future Tours Programme outside of the Casablanca Cup in April.

Morocco and Scotland gear up to face each other on the road to the World Cup, with this tour providing much-needed training ground for both sides as they look to iron out the kinks in their sides before the big event. It will also provide much-needed practice to the players, and a promise to thrill to the fans of both these teams.
 

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Norges Cricketforbund in talks to host Morocco in early August

Tangier Gazette
June 19, 2003

The Moroccan Cricket Federation (MCF) are reportedly in talks to visit Norway for a 2-match ODI series in early August, a tour much like the recently confirmed Scotland series. Norway, currently hosting the 2003 EUROCON Euro Cup, are keen on hosting the Moroccans for a bilateral series following the tournament's conclusion.

If the talks and discussions prove fruitful, this series will mark the first time the Moroccans play Norway in the international arena, in any format. Neither teams' paths have crossed thus far, with the 2002 WCC Knockout Trophy, hosted by Morocco, being the only opportunity prior to this where that could've been a possibility.

Depending on how Norway's campaign in the Euro Cup pans out in as a host nation, this tour could very well prove to be a blockbuster affair, however brief it may be.
 

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Abdelkarim Toulali likely to lead Morocco at The Arab Cup

Tangier Gazette
June 26, 2003

It is being reported that discussions internally within the Moroccan Cricket Federation (MCF) point to current Test captain, Abdelkarim Toulali, being eyed as the captain for Morocco in the absence of Abderrahim Zniber for the Arab Cup. "The Father of Moroccan cricket" is likely to choose leading Raja Casablanca at the WCC Club World Cup over the Arab Cup, as schedules for both these events overlap with each other. With him, and rest of Casablanca's nationals likely to miss the Arab Cup, current Test, and Club World Cup winning captain Abdelkarim Toulali has emerged as the strongest candidate to lead the Moroccan side in Saudi Arabia.

Abdelkarim Toulali has had the most-impressive resume as captain since Morocco's admission into the World Cricket Conference, even better than that of Zniber's. Toulali has led Rabat Al-Ittihad to four successive Al Botola wins, one Moroccan Cup win, one Club World Cup triumph and this very year, the inaugural National T20 title.

While the composition and balance of the team will greatly suffer from the absence of Abderrahim Zniber and the rest of Raja Casablanca's national players, Morocco as a whole could do with a change in leadership and vision given their shortcomings in the international arena, particularly at continental level.
 

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Norges Cricketforbund confirm Morocco ODIs

Tangier Gazette
July 3, 2003

Exciting news emerges as Norges Cricketforbund confirm a much-anticipated two-match One Day International series against Morocco, set to take place in August. The confirmation comes after weeks of negotiations between the two cricketing nations, signaling a significant step forward for both Norwegian and Moroccan cricket.

Before turning their focus to the ODI series, Norway have an important challenge ahead. Tomorrow, they are set to face off against Denmark in the semifinal of the EUROCON Euro Cup. With Denmark the clear favorites, Norway find themselves in the role of the underdog, poised to defy the odds and pull off a miraculous upset.

The stage is set for a captivating showdown, with Norway relying on the support of their fervent home crowd to spur them on against formidable opposition. Despite the daunting task at hand, the Norwegian team is determined to give their all on the field, aiming to create a memorable moment in their cricketing journey.

As the sport continues to flourish, events like the upcoming ODI series against Morocco and the EUROCON Euro Cup semifinal against Denmark serve as significant milestones in the country's cricketing evolution. With each match, Norway moves closer to establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of cricket.
 

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Squad for Scotland ODIs set to be announced next week

Tangier Gazette
July 10, 2003

The Moroccan Cricket Federation is set to announce the 15-player squad for the 2-match ODI series against Scotland next week. Following which, the MCF will also conduct a week-long training camp at the National Performance Center before the squad departs for Scotland, where they will play the first ODI in Ayr four days later.

It is rumoured that Morocco will retain a largely unchanged squad with an emphasis on gelling the current players into one unit before the World Cup rolls around.
 

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Morocco ODI squad announced for Scotland tour

Tangier Gazette
July 17, 2003

The Moroccan Cricket Federation have announced the 15-player squad set to travel to Scotland to play a 2-match ODI series, starting on the 28th. Abderrahim Zniber will continue as the Moroccan captain and Abdelkarim Toulali will continue serving as his deputy. Moulham Assaraf returns to the squad, replacing Zineddine Zraibi as the management felt they needed an extra batter in the team. Aside from this one change, Morocco have confirmed an unchanged squad from the Casablanca Cup.
 

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Moroccan squad departs for Scotland after week-long training programme

Tangier Gazette
July 24, 2003

The Moroccan squad announced for the ODI series in Scotland departed earlier this morning after completing a week-long training programme at the National Performance Center in preparation for the tour. Morale is believed to be high within the camp as Morocco prepare for international action after nearly three months.
 

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Morocco look to secure the ODI series in Dundee

Tangier Gazette
July 31, 2003

Having won the first match in the most sensational of manners, Morocco look forward to sealing the 2-match ODI series against the Scottish Saltires with a win in Dundee today. The first ODI saw many twists and turns, and performances worthy of their price of admission, but nothing could have prepared the spectators in Cambusdoon for the final passage of play. Scotland, only 13 runs away from victory, lost 4 wickets in the span of 5 deliveries in what can only be described as collapse of biblical proportions. Abdelkarim Toulali spun the Moroccans to an unlikely win with his 4-wicket burst, which included a hat trick of the last three wickets, as the Scottish tail capitulated to a 12-run defeat.

Following the insane result of the first ODI, the Moroccans will be highly motivated to finish the job and take the ODI series 2-0 in the second ODI in Dundee today.
 

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Morocco to field full-strength XI against Norway; casting Club World Cup participation doubts

Tangier Gazette
August 7, 2003

After having secured a 2-0 ODI series win against Scotland last week, Morocco have travelled to Norway to play a 2-match ODI series starting tomorrow. Morocco's decision to travel to Norway with the same 15 players which beat Scotland has cast doubts over the participation of Raja Casablanca's players for the Club World Cup. Most notably Abderrahim Zniber, captain of Raja Casablanca and Morocco. Aside from him, four other players may end up missing on the Club World Cup if Raja Casablanca are drawn into qualifying round of the tournament. Those four are - Rachid Al-Fassi, Zamen Ibn Al-Hasan Abderrahman Oulehri and Pierre-Marie Rapace.

Though it is believed that once the tour ends in Norway on the 12th, the Casablanca players will be permitted to join Raja Casablanca in Denmark for the Club World Cup. For Casablanca's fans, it is a must for them to pray and hope that Raja Casablanca aren't drawn into the qualifying round with their core group of players missing.

It will be a heartbreaking Club World Cup return for the inaugural runners-up if that happens, because that will almost most-certainly be a death sentence for Raja C. A.
 

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Casablanca players link up with Raja C. A. following Norway ODI series win

Tangier Gazette
August 14, 2003

In a seamless transition from international duty to club commitments, four key players from Casablanca have swiftly shifted their focus from a victorious ODI series in Norway to the upcoming challenge in the Club World Cup with Raja Casablanca. Their journey takes them from the chilly landscapes of Norway to the... similarly chilly, but vibrant atmosphere of Denmark, where they are set to clash with global heavyweights of the sport of cricket in a bid for elusive Club World Cup glory.

Abderrahim Zniber, Morocco and Casablanca captain leading from the front, alongside Rachid Al-Fassi, Zamen Ibn Al-Hasan, and Pierre Marie-Rapace, formed the backbone of the squad that clinched victory in the 2-match ODI series against Norway. Now, they are all set to strengthen Raja C. A. in their Club World Cup return.

With the excitement of their international triumph still fresh, these players are gearing up to represent Raja Casablanca in the prestigious Club World Cup, with their campaign scheduled to kick off against one of the host clubs and Danish One-Day Cup champions Syddanmark on August 20th, in the tournament opener.

For Raja Casablanca, the addition of these seasoned players bolsters their squad and adds a layer of experience crucial for navigating the challenges of a tournament of such magnitude. With their recent triumph in Norway serving as a testament to their capabilities, the stage is set for a thrilling display of cricketing action.
 

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