AFCON 2023: Morocco face South Africa test in final Round of 16 fixture


In the concluding fixture of the Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16, South Africa is gearing up to face off against pre-tournament favorites Morocco in a battle for a coveted spot in the quarterfinals.

While Morocco has navigated a relatively smooth journey to this stage, clinching two wins in the group stage, South Africa had to overcome an opening-day setback to secure a second-place finish in Group E.

Morocco, considered one of the tournament’s favorites, eyes a return to the quarterfinals, a stage they’ve reached in two of their last three AFCON appearances.

However, historical records suggest that South Africa could pose a challenge, having won two of their eight previous encounters against the Atlas Lions.

South Africa, led by coach Hugo Broos, is embracing the underdog status and believes in the possibility of an upset.

Broos, emphasizing that “nothing is impossible,” draws inspiration from South Africa’s historic 1-0 victory over all-time record winners Egypt in 2019.

Despite having just three wins in their last 13 AFCON tournament games, South Africa has demonstrated resilience in reaching the final eight twice in their recent tournament history.

As the two teams prepare to clash, eyes will be on playmakers Hakim Ziyech for Morocco and Themba Zwane for South Africa.

Ziyech, instrumental in Morocco’s group stage success, will be a key figure, while Zwane, having scored two of South Africa’s four goals in this edition, aims to lead the charge for another upset. The stage is set for a thrilling encounter between South Africa and Morocco as they vie for a place among the AFCON elite in the quarterfinals.

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