Fans tuning in for Morocco’s World Cup clash with Belgium could be forgiven for wondering if they were seeing things after the African side made a last-second goalkeeper swap.
Number one Yassine Bounou was named in Morocco’s starting line-up and took to the pitch to sing the national anthem with his team-mates before kick-off.
However, by the time the players were lining up for the pre-match team photo, Bounou had disappeared, with Munir El Kajoui lining up instead.
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It caused confusion, and the BBC’s commentary team initially failed to notice the change had been made.
But the BBC later reported that Bounou went to speak to manager Walid Regragui after the anthems about a problem with his eyes.
After that, the Morocco boss spoke to Munir, gave him an encouraging hug, and sent him out onto the pitch instead.
The Morocco national team’s Twitter account simply said: “Munir El Kajoui replaces Yassine Bounou for this match against Belgium”.
The stand-in keeper showed no signs of nerves at the late call-up, making a good save to deny Michy Batshuayi after just five minutes.
DOHA, QATAR – NOVEMBER 27: Yassine Bounou of Morocco speaks to match officials prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA
Image credit: Getty Images
Morocco drew their opening Group F game 0-0 against Croatia, and will face Canada in their final game on December 1.
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