AFCON 2023: PSG star backs Morocco for glory

As Morocco gear up for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023), PSG star Ousmane Dembélé has offered his unequivocal support to the team in Ivory Coast.

Unsurprisingly, the France international of Mauritanian descent is connected to the north African country. His wife hails from Morocco, as well as his friend and PSG teammate Achraf Hakimi.

PSG would have to cope with the absence of Hakimi, especially following another impressive display against Toulouse on Tuesday.

“He is a key player in our team and we will miss him, but I hope that with Morocco, he will go as far as possible,” Dembele, who plays on the same flank as Hakimi, was reported as saying by Le Parisien.

Since winning the trophy 47 years ago, the Atlas Lions of Morocco have only managed to reach the final once, in 2004 when they lost to hosts Tunisia. At the last edition, they were sent packing by Egypt in the quarter-finals. However, given their historic run at the last FIFA World Cup where they became the first African to finish fourth, they odds are in their favour to win in Ivory Coast.

A huge loss for PSG during AFCON 2023?

Dembele's wish of seeing Morocco go all the way in Ivory Coast might not go down well for some PSG fans.

Hakimi is seen as an integral part of the team and should Morocco get to the AFCON final on February 11, it means they would miss out on his services for five matches including a home tie against Lille on February 10.

Luis Enrique will have to get creative to fill the void his absence creates. While Nordi Mukiele can slot in, the Spanish gaffer has had to even use attacking midfielder Carlos Soler in the right-back position in Hakimi's absence.

Walid Regragui's team will hope to start their AFCON 2023 campaign on a solid note when they square off against Tanzania on January 17 in their opening Group F game.

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Rotimi Akindele

Rotimi Akindele is a Sports Journalist with almost two decades' experience. He is a TV and radio host, commentator and writer who has covered major sporting events across the globe. Akindele's sports content has been listened to and read by a global audience. He is a well-known figure within Nigeria and the African football scene.