International Friendly Preview: Morocco v Gabon
By Football News
Morocco and Gabon will each have interim coaches in charge when they meet in Marrakech for a friendly on Wednesday.
Both countries reached the quarter-finals of the recent African Nations Championship, which is only open to players participating in the national league of their own country, two months ago.
Morocco succumbed to a sensational fightback from Nigeria, who came from three goals behind to force extra-time and then snatched victory through Abubakar Ibrahim.
Gabon also suffered a dramatic exit as they were beaten 4-2 on penalties by Libya following a 1-1 draw.
Neither Morocco or Gabon have returned to action since, and the former should be particularly keen to get 2014 off to a strong start as they prepare to host next year's African Nations Cup in January and February of 2015.
While the long-term future of Morocco's coaching setup is somewhat unclear due to pending president elections in the Moroccan Football Federation, Hassan Benabicha - the interim boss for this week's game - has been able to call on stellar names such as Adel Taarabt and Marouane Chamakh.
However, Roma defender Mehdi Benatia is absent after he made clear his unhappiness at the uncertainty surrounding his country's football future.
Having told Radio Mars he would retire from international football if "all the conditions are not met for a good African Cup", Benatia remains unhappy with the current state of the national side.
"I no longer want to be the laughing stock of African football," he told L'Equipe.
"It's been five years since our services are not up to our potential."
"We just need a coach that makes the most of us."
Morocco's opponents on Wednesday will be led by Claude Albert Mbourounot, with the country still in the process of finding a replacement for Paulo Duarte - who left his role as coach in September.
Mbourounot, who has held a number of positions in the Gabon national setup and was a former assistant of Duarte, will be eager to bolster his hopes of landing the job on a full-time basis.
Georges Leekens and Pierre Lechantre are also among the candidates to succeed Duarte, although a decision is not expected until after the Gabonese Football Federation's presidential elections on March 30.