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Goal.com takes an in depth look at each of the 16 national teams aiming to make their mark on Africa's most popular competition

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching, and the 16 teams that will be aiming to become continental champions have been decided.

The 2013 Afcon takes place from 19 January to February 10, and it is to be held in the 2010 World Cup host nation, South Africa.

History will be written on February 10 at Soccer City in Johannesburg, as the 29th Africa Cup of Nations comes to a climax and a winner is crowned.

Goal.com introduces you to the 16 teams that will be taking part in this highly-anticipated competition. Here we profile the Atlas Lions of Morocco.

AFCON HISTORY

Best Performance
Winners - 1976
Champions
1976
Runners-Up
2004
Third Place
1980
Fourth Place
1986, 1988

HOW THEY QUALIFIED

Morocco sealed their place at the tournament in South Africa by eliminating Mozambique in the final round of Afcon qualifying. Although they lost in the first leg 2-0 in Maputo, the Atlas Lions were able to cancel out that disadvantage and secure their ticket to the 2013 Nations Cup by winning 4-0 in Morocco, completing a 4-2 aggregate victory over the southern Africans.

THE COACH | RACHID TAOUSSI


Rachid Taoussi was recently named as the new coach of the Moroccan national team, replacing Eric Gerets, who was sacked after his first-leg defeat by Mozambique in the final round of qualifying for the 2013 Afcon.

Taoussi has earned a great reputation in Morocco after winning a historic treble with Maghreb Fez last season, earning the club the African Federation Cup, the African Super Cup, and the Throne Cup. Taoussi is aiming to build a strong team by putting faith in the best local players and calling up Moroccans who are getting plenty game time in their European clubs.

THE CAPTAIN | HOUSSINE KHARJA


Houssine Kharja currently plays for Al-Arabi in Qatar, and he is one of the most experienced players in the Moroccan team. One of the few remaining members of the previous generation, he provides both tactical and mental support to the younger members in the squad.

Kharja was the top scorer for the Atlas Lions at the 2012 Afcon, and he will aim to be Rachid Taoussi's representative on the pitch in an effort to lead the Moroccans to cup glory.

THE STAR PLAYER | MEHDI BENATIA


Mehdi Benatia is set to be amongst the star players for the Atlas Lions in South Africa. The Udinese defender is considered one of the top Moroccan exports in Europe, playing an important part for his club side in Serie A. The 25-year-old has been with the Friulani since 2010.

That experience is vital for the national team, and his influence on the pitch and in the dressing room will be appreciated by coach Taoussi and his team-mates.

THE EMERGING TALENT | ABDELAZIZ BARRADA


One of the young starlets of Getafe in Spain, Abdelaziz Barrada's qualities have made him a mainstay in the Morocco national team starting lineup. Barrada possesses great control of the ball, is able to make clever passes and is a very capable deadball specialist.

The 23-year-old midfielder will be looking to make the difference for the north Africans, and opposing teams would be wise to study Barrada's qualities in order to counter his attacking abilities.

PROBABLE LINEUP



(4-2-3-1)

Lamyaghri
Belakhdar, Benatia, El Adoua, Bergdich
Kharja, EL Ahmadi
Barrada, Belhanda, Assaidi
El-Arabi

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