Hakim Ziyech donned the armband last night as Morocco took on Zambia in their final group stage game at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, and our loanee stepped up to the plate to deliver the game’s only goal and ensure that his nation advanced to the Round of 16 as group-winners.
While Morocco would’ve always been expected to advance, in a tournament that has seen the likes of Ghana and Algeria already eliminated, and Côte d’Ivoire just scrape by into the second round (thanks in part to this very goal), their unbeaten run so far, conceding just one goal, keeps them in play as one of the favorites still.
Morocco will take on South Africa, who finished runners-up in Group E, in the Round of 16 next Tuesday.
The other direct Chelsea interest at this tournament is of course Nicolas Jackson, who unfortunately still didn’t get to start as Senegal beat Guinea, 2-0, a couple days ago. Senegal were already assured of advancing, but Jackson still only got a couple token minutes off the bench at the end.
The defending champions will take on the host nation in the Round of 16 on Monday, which could become tougher than expected if Côte d’Ivoire do decide to finally show up on home soil. They were smacked around by Equatorial Guinea in their final group game to the tune of 4-0 and were the last team into the Round of 16 as the fourth best third place team (out of six).
Still better than Ghana, who practically dismantled their entire operation after a rather silly exit from the competition!
OFFICIAL: The Ghana Football Association have announced that Chris Hughton has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the senior National team with immediate effect.— Saddick Adams (@SaddickAdams) January 23, 2024
The FA has also taken a decision to dissolve the technical team of the Black Stars. pic.twitter.com/tyde2KvXfb