Morocco
© AFP

The past
London 2012 will be the seventh time Morocco have competed at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament since their first appearance at Tokyo 1964. It was not until Munich 1972 that the Moroccans began to make headway, going through to the second round after an impressive group performance, though three successive defeats in the next stage ensured they went no further. The Moroccans also subsequently qualified for the Olympic showpiece in 1984, 1992, 2000 and 2004, but failed to make a significant impact.

The present
Dutch coach Pim Verbeek stayed faithful to the tactics he used in the 2011 CAF African U-23 Championship, with his decision to use a number of overseas-based players paying dividends. Among Verbeek’s favourites are midfielder Abdelaziz Barrada, who plays for Spanish side Getafe, and Adnane Tighadouini of Dutch outfit Vitesse.

The future
Following Morocco’s 2-1 defeat by Gabon in the final of the 2011 CAF African U-23 Championship, coach Verbeek declared: “We failed to win the championship but we’ll get our revenge at London 2012. We’re not going just to make up the numbers: we’re aiming for a medal.” The Dutchman has thus set high targets for his players, while he clearly has every confidence they can achieve them.

Facts and figures
Former stars
Ahmed Faras, Mustafa Merry, Ahmed Bahja, Noureddine Naybet, Salaheddine Aqqal

Key players
Abdelaziz Barrada, Younes Mokhtar, Adnane Tighadouini, Driss Fettouhi

Qualifying statistics
Morocco’s performance at the 2011 continental U-23 showpiece was enough to guarantee them a berth at London 2012. After taking second place in Group A behind Senegal they defeated Egypt 3-2 in the semi-final to go through to the final against Gabon, which ensured their safe passage to the Olympic Football Tournament.

The numbers game
3 – The number of goals Morocco put past Egypt in the semi-final of the African U-23 Championship to qualify for London 2012. It is also the total number of goals the team conceded during their two defeats to Senegal and Gabon, 1-0 and 2-1 respectively, at the aforementioned competition.