Morocco keeper Yassine Bounou disappeared before kick-off and no-one noticed!

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou of Morocco makes a save against Nikola Vlasic of Croatia. Photo: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou of Morocco makes a save against Nikola Vlasic of Croatia. Photo: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

Published Nov 28, 2022


Cape Town - Morocco goalkeeper Bono bizarrely disappeared before the team's Group F kick-off against Belgium on Sunday at the Al Thumama Stadium, in Doha.

Yassine Bounou, also known as Bono, lined up alongside his teammates for the pre-match national anthem and then instead of lining up for the usual team photograph he made his way to the dressing room unnoticed by some of the attending media.

As a result, the replacement Munir Mohamedi joined his teammates for the team photograph. Mohamedi took up his position between the sticks at the kick-off and some media, including television commentators, were blissfully unaware of the pre-match substitution.

Bono is a Canadian Moroccan who plays for the LaLiga club Sevilla. He had picked up a knock against Croatia and had received treatment right up to the time that the team ran out ahead of the national anthem rendition.

Morocco's coach, Frenchman Walid Regragui, said Bono told him a few minutes ahead of kick-off that he did not feel 100% to play. Regragui is also a former Moroccan international player.

"He took a whack against Croatia, and he was unsteady," said Regragui, who previously guided Wydad Casablanca to a CAF Champions League title.

"We tried until the last moment but after the warm-up, just before the match, he did not feel good and he had the honesty to give way to someone else.

"If you want to be in my squad you have to be 100% and Yassine understood that and gave up his place to Munir, who had a great game."

Regragui's biggest fear before the game was that some of his players may be emotional about playing against Belgium. Four of his players were born in Belgium and several others played in Belgium's professional league.

Meanwhile, some media hadn't picked up the change and Mohamedi became Bono for a while before the media were told about their mistake.

This was the first time that Belgium had lost to an African team in all four previous World Cup meetings with African teams.

Morocco have two clean sheets after two games and will play Canada on Thursday in their final group match.


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