Ziyech could be missing for Bafana match

rugby28 January 2024 11:00| © Mzansi Football
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Hakim Ziyech © Backpage Pix

Morocco might have to do without key attacker Hakim Ziyech when they take on South Africa in San Pedro in the last-16 of the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday as he has missed training in the last days with an injured ankle.

The Galatasaray winger did not take part in training with the Atlas Lions at the Auguste-Denise West Stadium in San Pedro as they prepare for the clash against Bafana Bafana, having been replaced at half-time of their last group game against Zambia on Wednesday, where he scored the game’s only goal.

Morocco media reports said he suffered a serious ankle sprain and required treatment, although first indications are it might be tough to have him ready in time.

But Morocco will have coach Walid Regragui back on the bench after he had his suspension annulled after an appeal.

"We are very happy to know that he will be with us on the bench on Tuesday. When the coach is there, he gives us a positive charge and pushes us to be better," said the Dutch-born striker Ismael Saibari, who got his first run out of the competition for Morocco against Zambia, was delighted to get some playing time. “A first match in the Cup of Nations is a source of pride for me, I am very happy. It was hot and it was quite difficult to deal with, but it was a memorable match for me."

He said he hoped to get another run out, against South Africa. "The match will be difficult for sure. They have reached this round and they are playing good football. So they will defend their chances until the last breath. We will prepare well for the match, hoping that the result will be in our favour," he added.