The International Football Associations Federation (FIFA) published today, October 24, their October rankings for national squads. The Moroccan national team ranked 42nd globally, down from 39th in September.
The Atlas Lions fell three positions in the rankings following their weak performances in their most recent games. Out of four friendly games, the national squad only won one game (1-0 against Niger). The Moroccan team drew in two friendlies (1-1 against Burkina Faso and Libya), and lost 2-3 against Gabon.
Despite the drop in the global rankings, the Atlas Lions remain 5th in Africa, behind Senegal (20th globally), Tunisia (29th), Nigeria (35th), and Algeria (38th).
On the global scale, FIFA’s top 3 included of Belgium, France, and Brazil.
Since the last African Cup of Nations (CAN), where the Atlas Lions were eliminated by Benin in the round of 16, the national squad’s performance didn’t meet Moroccans’ expectations.
The retirement of many pillars of the national team is one of the reasons behind the visible weakness of the squad. The former Atlas Lions’ captain, Mehdi Benatia, is among the most remarkable names to announce their international retirement, leaving a void in the national squad’s defense.
Vahid Halilhodzic, the new Atlas Lions’ coach, after almost three months on the head of the national team, hasn’t yet found a way to fill this void. In fact, in four games played at home, the Moroccan defense conceded five goals.
In statements to the press, Halilhodzic explained that the squad needs more time to become competitive, and that he is still looking for new, promising players to replace the retired ones.
The Moroccan Royal Football Federation (FRMF) has set reaching CAN 2021’s semi-finals, qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, and winning the 2023 CAN as objectives for the Bosnian coach.
As Halilhodzic’s squad will play their first official game in November, against Mauritania, for the 2021 CAN Qualifiers, it is yet to be seen if the coach will be able to build a team that is strong enough to achieve all of these objectives.