In a lead role, Paris Saint-Germain right back Achraf Hakimi is helping Morocco to a strong performance in the Africa Cup of Nations.
After an assist against Tanzania, and a goal against DR Congo, Achraf Hakimi has once again shown himself to be integral to his team’s play both at the back and going forward. An ever-present for his team during their unlikely run to the semifinals of the World Cup in 2022, the right back is once again showing his attacking qualities in the Africa Cup of Nations.
With nine goals and ten assists in his 71 caps, Hakimi has always been a potent attacking threat, but his performances in this tournament have been something special indeed, mirroring his play in the last edition. Despite Morocco being eliminated by Egypt in added time in the quarterfinals, Hakimi was influential in Cameroon as well, with an assist in that match and goals against Gabon and Malawi.
These numbers are not by chance, though. Despite Morocco having plenty of attacking options in the form of players like Marseille’s Amine Harit, or former Lille and Angers winger Sofiane Boufal, it is the right back who often functions as the focal point of the team’s attack, a shift from his role with PSG at club level.
Speaking to Moroccan World News during the World Cup, he explained the shift, “It is completely different in Paris, sometimes you can run and not receive the ball. Here, they try to find me, and they know my importance both defensively and offensively.”
With his role in the national team rising in prominence in concert with his play for the capital side, having been named to the UNFP Team of the Year as he helped PSG with the Ligue 1 title last year, Hakimi is now eager to continue this level of success with his country. Set to take on Zambia this evening in Group F with first place on the line, The Atlas Lions remain one of the tournament’s favorites, and Hakimi’s attacking contributions have been at the heart of that success.