Morocco's Belhanda ruled out of Afcon

Nice and Morocco's Younes Belhanda
Nice's Younes Belhanda has been ruled of the Africa Cup of Nations for Morocco

A toe injury means Nice's Younes Belhanda is set to miss Morocco's campaign at January's Africa Cup of Nations.

The 26-year-old midfielder has been ruled out for between four and six weeks by top-of-the-table Nice.

He was injured on Wednesday in Nice's goalless draw at Bordeaux.

His absence might mean a call-up for Ajax Amsterdam's Hakim Ziyech, who was surprisingly left out of Morocco's preliminary squad.

Originally coach Herve Renard said he had no place for the 23-year-old in his list of 26 because Belhanda and Mbarak Boussoufa were his first choices as playmakers.

"To play behind the striker, I already have Belhanda and Boussoufa, who are on form and playing in clubs who are leaders of their championship," he said.

"At some point, you have to make choices."

"I think that a guy like Ziyech, if he does not have any playing time after two to three games, will find it difficult- for him and for the staff and for the squad."

Morocco play friendly matches against Iran on January 6 and Finland three days later during in their pre-tournament training camp in the United Arab Emirates.

Morocco are due to play their first match in Gabon against DR Congo on 16 January before games against Togo and Ivory Coast.


Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Girona, Spain), Yassine El Kharroubi (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria), Munir Mohamedi (Numancia, Spain)

Defenders: Amine Attouchi (Wydad Casablanca), Mehdi Benatia (Juventus, Italy), Fouad Chafik (Dijon, France), Manuel da Costa (Olympiakos, Greece), Nabil Dirar (Monaco, France), Hamza Mendyl (Lille, France), Mohamed Nahiri (FUS Rabat), Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England)

Midfielders: Youssef Aït Bennasser (Nancy, France), Nordin Amrabat (Watford, England), Younes Belhanda (Nice, France), Sofiane Boufal (Southampton, England), Mbark Boussoufa (Al Jazeera, United Arab Emirates), Mehdi Carcela (Grenada, Spain), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord Rotterdam, Netherlands), Fayçal Fajr (Deportivo Coruña, Spain), Ismail Haddad (Wydad Casablanca), Mourir Obbadi (Lille, France), Oussama Tannane (St Etienne, France),

Forward: Rachid Alioui (Nimes, France), Khalid Boutaib (Racing Strasbourg, France), Youssef El Arabi (Al Lekhwiya, Qatar), Youssef Ennesyri (Malaga, Spain).

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