Sports Mole previews Monday’s African Nations Championship clash between Morocco and Togo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Morocco launch their African Nations Championship title defence on Monday when they take on Togo at the Douala Reunification Stadium.

Togo are the tournament’s new boys, and they will be aiming to make a lasting first impression when they face the 2018 champions.

Match preview

The Atlas Lions of Morocco became the first nation to host and win the African Nations Championship in 2018, after an emphatic 4-1 victory against Nigeria in the finals.

Former Morocco international Hussein Ammouta, who guided the Lions to the title, has been charged to repeat his success at this year’s edition of the tournament.

Ammouta is one of the most experienced coaches heading to Cameroon, and the 51-year-old has named a travelling squad dominated by RS Berkane players, following their CAF Confederation Cup triumph.

Despite Group C being one of the toughest groups, Morocco have been tipped to make it out and go all the way to the finals, as they are one of the best teams at the tournament.

Togo, on the other hand, will be making their African Nation Championship debut, after shocking the home-based Eagles of Nigeria to a 4-3 aggregate win in the qualifiers.

Former defender and current head coach of the national Under-20 team Jean-Paul Abalo was appointed to lead the Sparrowhawks by the Togolese Football Federation in January 2018.

Abalo has called up four of ASC Kara’s stars to spearhead his attack, including Ouro-Agoro Ismail and Agoro Achraf, as he named his 26-man squad to defend the colours of Togo.

The Sparrowhawks might be inexperienced, but they are a team to look out for, and they will seek to cause a few upsets just like they did in the qualifiers.

Morocco form (all competitions): WWWDWW

Togo form (all competitions): DDDLLD

Team News

Morocco are in Cameroon with a very solid and experienced squad, with the likes of RS Berkane’s 36-year-old goalkeeper Zouhair Laaroub and defender Omar Namsaoui representing the nation.

2018 highest goalscorer Ayoub El Kaabi has also been called to the Morocco squad, after moving to Wydad in the Botala Pro from Chinese side Hebei China Fortune, and the 27-year-old is expected to lead the Lions’ attack.

El Kaabi, Hadraf and Walid El Karti all scored in the 2018 finals humbling of Nigeria, and Morocco will lean on this trio to lead them to the title again.

As for Togo, Ouro-Agoro Ismail and Agoro Achraf will be their go-to players in this competition, after helping ASC Kara to success in the Togolese top flight last season.

Morocco possible starting lineup:
Laaroubi; Baadi, Boutouli, Larbi, Namsaoui; Karti, Jabrane, Ennaffati; Hadraf, Khaffi, El-Kaabi

Togo possible starting lineup:
Aigba; Moussa, Madjedje, Bode, Sama, Toudj; Akoro, Amekoudji, Ozou; Ouro-Agoro, Salifou

SM words green background

We say: Morocco 3-0 Togo

Togo should be taught a footballing lesson, as they face an uphill task against the 2018 champions, who will be aiming to start their title defence on the right note and stamp their name as the tournament’s favorites.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



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