On Monday, March 13, 2023, the coach of the Moroccan national football team, Walid Regragui, expressed his support for Paris Saint-Germain defender Ashraf Hakimi, who is accused of rape in France, and called him up as part of his expected squad for the friendly matches of Brazil and Peru this March.
“He (Hakimi) is calm, this is the most important thing. We are with him and there is the presumption of innocence, and until the opposite is proven, for us and all Moroccans, we are behind Ashraf,” Regragui said during announcing the list of his players in the Moroccan city of Sale.
He added, “We are sincerely with him, and it will benefit him if he returns to Morocco and feels that we support him. He is a strong person on and off the field,” stressing that “he must think about football first and there are those who will take care of these matters on his behalf.”
On March 3, Hakimi was charged with rape, according to what the prosecutor’s office in Nanterre (the western suburb of the capital, Paris) told Agence France-Presse, while his lawyer confirmed that what happened was an “attempt to extort.”
Prosecutors questioned Hakimi following accusations by a 24-year-old woman of rape at the player’s home in Boulogne-Billancourt on February 25.
On the other hand, the Moroccan coach preserved the spirit of the group that shone in the Qatar World Cup 2022 and reached the semi-finals, in a historic achievement for African and Arab football.
Regragui addressed the issue of not summoning Milan’s Italian player Brahim Dias, saying, “I traveled to Milan to meet Brahim Dias. He has dual nationality. We had an honest discussion, and he was honest.”
“We are not in negotiations. There is a period of calm between us and Spain. He loves Morocco, but that will be his decision. Dias is not with Morocco yet, but the door is still open,” he added.
The Atlas Lions will play two friendly matches against Brazil and Peru, on March 25 in Tangier, Morocco, and on March 28 in Madrid, Spain, respectively.
The following is the announced line-up:
Yassin Bono (Sevilla, Spain), Mounir Al-Qajwi (Saudi Al-Wehda), Reda Tagnaouti (Wydad), Mahdi Benabeed (Al-Fateh Sports Federation).
Ashraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain, France), Nayef Akrad (West Ham, England), Roman Sayes (Besiktas, Turkey), Naseer Mazraoui (Bayern Munich, Germany), Shadi Riad (Barcelona, Spain), Ashraf Dari (Brest, France), Jawad Al Yamiq (Balad Al-Waleed, the Spanish), Abdelkabir Abkar (Deportivo Alaves, Spain), Yahya Atiyatallah (Wydad), Ayoub Amrawi (Nice, France).
Sofiane Amrabat (Fiorentina, Italy), Abdelhamid Sabiri (Sampdoria, Italy), Ezzedine Onahi (Marseille, France), Benjamin Bouchouari (Saint-Etienne, France), Bilal Al-Khanous (Genk, Belgium), Omran Loza (Watford, England), Yassine Keshta (Le Havre) French).
Hakim Ziyash (Chelsea, England), Abdel Samad Al-Zalzouli (Osasuna, Spain), Zakaria Abu Khalil (Toulouse, France), Youssef Al-Nusairi (Sevilla, Spain), Anas Zaruri (Burnley, England), Walid Shadira (Bari, Italy), Abdul Razzaq Al-Hamdallah (Al-Ittihad, Saudi Arabia). ), Sofiane Boufal (Qatari Al-Rayyan), Ibrahim Salah (French Rennes).