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CAS Upholds FIFA’s Decision To Refuse Munir El Haddadi Switch From Spain To Morocco

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Former Barcelona forward, Munir El Haddadi, hopes of playing for Morocco have finally been dashed after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld a decision by FIFA to refuse him permission to play for the North African nation.

CAS, however, did not give a reason for its decision.

The Morocco Football Federation (FRMF) had applied to Fifa for permission for the 25-year-old, who now plays for Sevilla, to swap national allegiances from Spain who he had played for in the past.

The FRMF had been hoping to take advantage of a recent Fifa rule change that allows players under 21 to change national teams even if they have played up to three competitive games.

In September Fifa decided that as El Haddadi had played for the Spanish under-21 side after his 21st birthday he did not meet the criteria to switch to Morocco.

CAS has now upheld that decision, without elaborating on its reasons, and so ending El Haddadi’s chances of playing for the Atlas Lions.

The former Barcelona player had trained with Morocco during the last international break before being told he was not cleared to play for them.

El Haddadi had tried to make the change before the rule change but was first prevented from doing so as he had made a brief substitute appearance for Spain in European Championship qualifier.

Under the the old Fifa regulations, that appearance prevented him from playing for Morocco – a decision that was also upheld by CAS.

As El Haddadi was 19 for his lone appearance for Spain, the path had seemed clear for a switch under the regulation change that had been proposed by FRMF.

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North Africa Sports

Moroccan Defender, Mohamed Abarhoun, Dies Of Stomach Cancer

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Mohamed Abarhoun, Moroccan professional footballer, is dead.

Abarhoun, who played as a defender, died from stomach cancer aged 31.

Abarhoun’s former club Caykur Rizespor has confirmed that the seven-cap Morocco international passed away on Tuesday after being diagnosed with stomach cancer earlier this year.

In a statement the club said: “We have learned with sadness the news of the death of our former football player Mohamed Abarhoun, who has been receiving treatment for a while.

“We wish Allah’s mercy to Mohamed Abarhoun, who passed away, and our condolences to his family, relatives and community.”

Abarhoun spent seven years playing in Morocco for Moghreb Tetouan, where he won two league titles, before moving to Portuguese side Moreirense, who he left last year to join Rizespor.

At international level, the defender helped Morocco’s under-23 side qualify for the 2012 Olympics and went onto play twice at the Games in London.

He also played for Morocco at the 2014 African Nations Championship, the tournament for locally-based players, in South Africa as well as two friendlies.

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Mahrez Bags Hat-trick in Man City’s 5-0 Thrashing of Burnley

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Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez scored in the sixth minute in Manchester City’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley to grab his 100th goal in the Premier League and joined five other African in the exclusive club list.

The goal ensured he became the sixth African player to reach the milestone after Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Mahrez would add two more goals to complete a hat-trick as Man City hammered Burnley at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.

The win is the fourth straight time Pep Guardiola’s side have beaten the Clarets at home by that scoreline.

City had netted just 10 goals in their opening eight games, raising concerns from Guardiola about their finishing but they looked back to their sharpest best — helped by poor defending from Sean Dyche’s team.

Algerian Mahrez set City on their way in the sixth minute, finishing off a flowing passing move with his trademark cut in from the left and drive into the far corner.

There was a similar finish for the second after Mahrez picked up the ball in space in the area after Burnley had been caught out by a quick throw in.

Benjamin Mendy made it 3-0 in the 41st, volleying home his first goal for the club at the back post after a fine cross from Kevin De Bruyne.

Burnley, weakened by injuries and with Bailey Peacock-Farrell in goal instead of the sidelined Nick Pope, enjoyed some relief from the pressure after the break with Jay Rodriguez forcing a save out of Ederson with a well-struck effort from a tight angle.

But Ferran Torres added the fourth goal, slotting home after the overlapping Kyle Walker had found Gabriel Jesus in the box and the Brazilian flicked it to his Spanish team mate to convert confidently.

Mahrez completed his hat-trick, his first for City, in the 69th minute, heading home Phil Foden’s cross.

It could have been 6-0 had an effort from Jesus not been ruled out for offside by VAR and a shot from De Bruyne not crashed against the post.

Burnley also lost 5-0 at City last season in the Premier League, in the FA Cup in January, 2019 and in the league in 2018.

Broadcasters BT Sport said the last time a team beat the same opponent by five or more goals in four successive games was Notts County against Port Vale between 1893 and 1907.

“It’s been tough here the last few times we have been without doubt,” Dyche said.

“The media have been on about it and I don’t know whether they planted it in the players’ minds!

“The first goal is really poor. The game plan is almost dismantled by our own doing. 2-0 down here is really difficult as they grow with confidence and they are a top team without a doubt. We know the stats and facts of playing these sides.”

Guardiola was pleased his team had bounced back from last week’s defeat by Tottenham Hotspur and City moved up to eighth, six points behind leaders Liverpool.

“It was important to come back with a victory in the Premier League. One more game,” the Spaniard said.

“We play a lot of games, so to play 90 minutes and maintain a good level is not easy but there are always things to improve on.”

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Nigeria Fall On Fifa Ranking, Egypt Rise

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Nigeria on Friday slipped three spots to 35th position on the latest FIFA ranking.

The Super Eagles had failed to win the double-header 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Sierra Leone, drawing 4-4 at home and 0-0 away.

Nigeria is the fourth best country on the continent with Senegal retaining the no. 1 spot, followed by Tunisia and Algeria in the second and third positions, respectively.

Meanwhile, Egypt moved three places up to 49th on the rankings. The Pharaohs defeated the Togolese national side twice in the AFCON qualifying fixtures this month.

On the AFCON qualifying table, Egypt is tied on eight points with surprise package Comoros, after beating Togo 1-0 and 3-1 in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively.

The Pharaohs are five points clear of third-placed Kenya, while Togo is rooted to the bottom with a solitary point.

Egypt jumped one place among African countries to the 6th position, behind Senegal (20), Tunisia (26), Algeria (31), Nigeria (35) and Morocco (35).

Belgium lead an unchanged top four national teams, including France, Brazil and England.

The best mover in the new ranking was Equatorial Guinea, jumping 10 places to the 134th place, while the biggest drop belonged to Libya, who fell nine spots to 111th place.

FIFA world rankings (October world ranking in parenthesis):

1. Belgium (1)

2. France (2)

3. Brazil (3)

4. England (4)

5. Portugal (5)

6. Spain (6)

7. Argentina (8)

8. Uruguay (7)

9. Mexico (11)

10. Italy (12)

Top ten African teams:

20. Senegal (21)

26. Tunisia (26)

31. Algeria (30)

35. Nigeria (32)

35. Morocco (39)

49. Egypt (52)

50. Cameroon (53)

52. Ghana (48)

57. Mali (56)

58. Burkina Faso (58)

Top five Arab teams:

26. Tunisia (26)

31. Algeria (30)

35. Morocco (39)

49. Egypt (52)

59. Qatar (57)

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