Malaria distracts Morocco ahead of must-win game

AP, Thursday 26 Jan 2012

Morocco was already up against it at the African Cup of Nations even before reserve goalkeeper Issam Badda was diagnosed with a mild form of malaria and leading striker Marouane Chamakh was hit by fever and a stomach illness

Morocco soccer team coach Eric Gerets from Belgium, third from left, talks to the players during a training session (Photo: AP)

After losing to Tunisia in its Group C opener, Eric Gerets’ team plays for its survival at the tournament against a buoyant Gabon which will be boosted by a stadium of rowdy home supporters in Libreville on Friday.

Gerets says the match could be even tougher than Tunisia for the Moroccans, who have fitness doubts over forward Oussama As-Saidi as well as Chamakh, while the recovering Badda is almost certain not to be involved.

Despite Badda’s scare, captain Houssine Kharja said Thursday the squad is“totally focused.”


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