Morocco’s national football team has won the African Nations Championship (CHAN) for the second time in a row after their previous title won at home in 2018.
Morocco has made history for being the first team to successfully defend the African Nations Championship(CHAN). They also join the Democratic Republic of Congo in winning the cup twice.
Houcine Ammouta’s side were made to work hard for their win and both of their goals came from second-half corners at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde.
Defender Soufiane Bouftini headed home the first goal in the 69th minute before Captain Ayoub El Kaabi, who scored nine goals in 2018 to help Morocco win the title on home soil, scored the second in the 80th minute.
To make matters worse for Mali, they finished the game with 10 men after the dismissal of Issaka Samake for a second yellow card as the game entered injury time.
Kenyan referee Peter Waweru had initially cautioned Samake only for Morocco’s Mohammed Ali Bemammer to recommend he look at the pitch-side monitor and after a lengthy Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review, he reversed his decision and showed Samake a second yellow.
Morocco lifted the trophy with a total of 15 goals scored throughout the tournament.
Soufiane Rahimi has been named the most valuable player of the CHAN tournament after guiding his side to defending the championship.
The Raja Casablanca midfielder also took home the golden boot after scoring 5 goals in the tournament.
The golden boot was presented to him by Cameroon legendary striker Samuel Eto.
Soufiane Rahimi also collected 3 man of the match awards from the 6 matches played in this edition.
Morocco’s Journey To Success:
The national team began their Journey in Group C, alongside Togo, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Morocco’s first two performances — a 1-0 win against Togo and a 0-0 draw versus Rwanda were unconvincing and planted doubts in many fans.
However, in the third game, the Moroccan team appeared to finally regain the offensive prowess that characterized it in the 2018 CHAN. It thrashed Uganda with a 5-2 score, finishing the group stage at the top.
Morocco proceeded to beat Zambia 3-1 in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals, the Moroccan team eliminated the tournament’s hosts, Cameroon, with a dominating 4-0 score, to reach the final stage of the tournament.
Mali’s Journey To The Final:
Mali, meanwhile, had a relatively less impressive journey. Despite finishing the group stage at the top of Group A, ahead of Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Zimbabwe, the Eagles reached the final through two penalty shootouts.
In both the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, against Congo and Guinea respectively, Mali won 5-4 through penalties, after the games ended in 0-0 draws.
Recently reinstated Confederation of African Football president Ahmad was part of the presentation ceremony at the end of the match alongside former Cameroon players Samuel Eto’o, Patrick Mboma and Jacques Songo’o.
Morocco is also the first nation to host and win the Africans Nation Championship on home soil whe they won it in 2018.
Guinea finished third at the tournament after defeating Cameroon 2-0 in the third-place play-off match Saturday.
How they lined up:
Morocco XI: Anas Zniti (GK), Omar Namsaoui, Soufiane Bouftini, Abdelmounaim Boutouil, Hamza El Moussaoui, Yahya Jabrane, Mohamed Bemammer, Abdelilah Hafidi, Soufiane Rahimi, Noah Wail Sadaoui, Ayoub El Kaabi (C)
Mali XI: Djigui Diarra (GK) (C), Siaka Bagayoko Chato, Bangaly Sanogo, Yacouba Doumbia, Issiaka Samaké, Moussa Kyabou, Sadio Kanouté, Demba Diallo, Makan Samabaly, Moussa Ballo, Moussa Koné Koffi
All Time CHAN Winners
2009 – DR Congo
2011 – Tunisia
2014 – Libya
2016 – DR Congo
2018 – Morocco
2020 – Morocco