The Atlas Lions from Morocco found the net twice at Rand stadium in South Africa today, scoring a well-played 2-1 victory over Namibia in another warm-up match before the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament gets underway in earnest next week.
Morocco scored its first goal in the second minute, by Mounir El Hamdaoui with an assist from Assaidi. Namibia leveled the score at 1-1 just before the half. But the Atlas Lions scored again in the 79th minute, on a goal by El Kaddioui, assisted from Hamdallahand, to set the final 2-1 margin.
Morocco's first match of Group A play at AFCON is against Angola on January 19, when the 22-day championship kicks off in Soweto. That match will be followed by contests against Cape Verde and host nation South Africa in Group A play.
Coach Rachid Taoussi said he is confident Morocco will perform well at the Africa Cup of Nations, adding that he is "building a team for the present and the future."
On Sunday Taoussi told France Football "I am optimistic regarding our mission in the Nations Cup." The 57-year-old coach highlighted the importance of beating Angola in Morocco's opening game of Group A, which also includes South Africa and Cape Verde.
"We have to concentrate in our first game against Angola. Winning the opener is very important for us to gain more confidence. I think it will be not easy, especially that Angola are a good team," he added.
Taoussi defended his squad selection, saying he based his choices on the players' current displays and consistency.
Several Moroccan stars were dropped from the team's Nations Cup, including Marouane Chamakh, Aded Taraabt and skipper Houcine Kharja. The roster includes several players who will play at the tournament for the first time.
"I am not worried about the lack of experience. Normally young players are eager to show their worth and I want to take advantage of their enthusiasm, especially that they are all talented," Taoussi said.
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Morocco held African champions Zambia to a scoreless 0-0 draw at Rand Stadium in another warm-up match for AFCON. The Atlas Lions have not lost to Zambia since 1993.
Saturday's match against Namibia gave ample evidence the Atlas Lions are making good progress in developing cohesiveness as a team.
Morocco starting line up against Namibia: