Hakim Ziyech is technically still a Chelsea player — and depending on how his loan at Galatasaray goes, he might still be a Chelsea player next season — so let’s see how he and his national team, Morocco got on in their first match at the 2023/4 Africa Cup of Nations.
And it would appear that they got on quite well, beating Tanzania, 3-0 last night. Granted, Tanzania are the lowest ranked by FIFA of all 24 participating nations (122nd), and Morocco are the highest (13th) after their run to the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup, but you can only beat the team you’re facing. And Morocco took care of business.
Ziyech played 80 minutes but was kept off the scoresheet, with goals coming from Roman Säiss, Accedine Ounahi, and Youssef En-Nesyri — the latter two in a three-minute spell in the final quarter hour after Tanzania were reduced to ten. Säiss’s goal came on a rebound from a powerful (but slightly misplayed by the goalkeeper) Ziyech free kick.
In the other game on Wednesday, Zambia and Congo DR played out 1-1 draw, while the day before, Burkina Faso, Namibia (against Tunisia!), and Mali collected victories. Former Chelsea prospect Bertrand Traoré scored the winning goal for Burkina Faso against Mauritania in stoppage time.