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Morocco: Sofiane Diop reveals decision to choose Atlas Lions for AFCON 2023

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Despite featuring in the preliminary squad under the watchful eye of coach Walid Regragui, Sofiane Diop, the 23-year-old attacking midfielder from OGC Nice, faced the unfortunate omission from the final list destined for the AFCON 2023 in Côte d’Ivoire.

His absence, however, stems from an untimely setback—the lingering effects of a fracture to his third right metatarsal sustained during a clash with Cape Verdean defender Logan Costa in a match against Toulouse (1-0).

During a recent appearance on Club des 5, the former French Espoirs international, with Senegalese origins and potential eligibility for the Lions of Teranga, revealed the pivotal career decision he made in favor of representing Morocco.

Diop clarified that his absence from the national team was not a reflection of his playing prowess but a result of his inability to fully recover from the aforementioned injury, delaying his debut for the Atlas Lions.

In a straightforward account of his choice, Diop stated, “It was up to me to make a choice.

I think I had reached a point where I wanted to make a decision. I had said in several other media that I was waiting for the right moment.

But above all, I think that I was at a pivotal moment in my career, and I decided after some reflection to call the coach myself and tell him that I wanted to play for Morocco.”

Reflecting on the welcoming atmosphere fostered by Coach Regragui during his initial call-up in November, Diop expressed, “He welcomed me.

We talked a lot. He is a coach who is very involved in discussions. He likes to get the feeling of his players.” These positive sentiments suggest a harmonious relationship between Diop and Regragui, providing a promising foundation for the player’s potential contributions to the Moroccan squad.

As the football community eagerly awaits Diop’s debut in the Moroccan jersey, the possibility of his participation in the national team’s matches as early as March adds an additional layer of anticipation to his evolving international career.

 

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