MoroccoCoach: Noureddine Bouhadiou
Morocco are no newcomers at the World Championship. The Atlas Lions have already participated in seven editions of the competition, all under head coach Noureddine Bouhadiou, who will now prepare the North African team for their eighth campaign at this level.
The Moroccans made their debut in 1995, when they finished 22nd, and took the 17th position four years later, which is still their best ranking at the event. But after 2007, the Atlas Lions saw a decline in their results, as they failed to qualify for the World Championship for 14 years.
Two years ago, the African side finally returned after a long absence, booking a place at the World Championship in Egypt. But although the event was held in Africa, Morocco failed to impress, claiming two wins, in the President's Cup against the Republic of Korea (32:25) and in the placement match 29/30 against fellow African team Angola 29:30 in extra time.
In 2022, Morocco's main task was to do a good job at the 2022 CAHB Men's African Championship, as they needed a top-five finish at that tournament to qualify for the 2023 World Championship. At the competition held in Egypt in July, the Atlas Lions lived up to expectations, as the quarter-final win against Guinea (28:24) secured them a ticket to Poland/Sweden 2023.
And although sensational Cape Verde then defeated Morocco in the semi-final (19:23), they latter bounced back from that setback and defeated Tunisia in the third-place encounter (28:24). They earned bronze and tied their best result at this level, shown at Tunisia 2006.
So the Atlas Lions have got some useful experience in recent years, not only with the national team, but also at club level. While many players represent Moroccan clubs, many play in France, like wing players Ryad Lakbi and Rezzouki Reida from Tremblay Handball. With the help of the experienced coach Bouhadiou, the North African side hope to build on their successful performance at the 2022 CAHB Men's CAHB African Championship and cause some surprises in January.
Key players: Ryad Lakbi (left wing), Rezzouki Reida (right wing), Mohammed Ezzine (left back)
Qualification for Poland/Sweden 2023: 2022 CAHB Men's African Championship – 3rd place
History in tournament: 1995: 22nd, 1997: 23rd, 1999: 17th, 2001: 22nd, 2003: 23rd, 2007: 20th, 2021: 29th
Group at Poland/Sweden 2023: Group G (Egypt, Croatia, Morocco, United States of America)