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Morocco star Nabil Dirar doubtful for World Cup tournament in Russia

17:37 SAST 2018/06/12
Nabil Dirar Fenerbahce
Morocco are returning to World Cup for the first time since 1998 and are placed in Group B where they will face Iran in opener

Morocco are sweating to have winger Nabil Dirar fit to start in their opening match of the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

The Atlas Lions arrived safely in Russia on Sunday to begin their final round of training for the tournament but AFP reports that Dirar, who is part of the squad, may miss the event altogether.

Dirar missed Morocco’s two friendly matches against Slovakia and Estonia owing to a calf injury suffered for the past two weeks.

The 32-year-old Dirar, who plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey, had been a regular for Morocco in their successful qualifying campaign and scored in the decisive match in the preliminaries away against the Ivory Coast last November.

Coach Hervé Renard has already taken precautions for Dirar’s possible absence and appealed to Amiens defender Oualid El Hajjam to replace him if his condition does not improve.

El Hajjam made his debut for the North Africans in a friendly game against Uzbekistan back in March. After a 20-year absence at the global showpiece, Morocco will make an appearance in the 2018 World Cup and the odds are against them since they have been placed in a group with tough teams, Spain and Portugal.

The Atlas Lions will take on Iran in their opening game on Friday, June 15, before they face off against European champions Portugal and 2010 World Cup winners Spain in the final group games.