LONDON: Morocco go into battle with South Africa on Monday for a place in the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16, and a group of supporters in a small Moroccan village got to see it in all its glory thanks to captain Mehdi Benatia.
Following a viral image of a group of young Atlas Lions fans crowding around a small smartphone screen to watch their team’s 1-0 win over Ivory Coast last week, Moroccan football website Soccer212 started a campaign to help them have a “better viewing experience.”
Former Juventus and Bayern Munich defender Benatia saw the photo and offered to pay for a large TV set, satellite connection and all the necessary equipment to get to the boys in time for Monday’s match.
Benatia took to social media to explain his gesture, saying: “When you see something like this, one can only wish to give back, give away everything. This is for you my boys — we will do everything to make you happy.”
Achraf Hakimi rattled the crossbar with a terrific 25-yard attempt early in the second half, but Morocco won it right at the death as Mbark Boussoufa stabbed home from close range after a free-kick fell into his path.
Having been on course to seal one of four best third-place spots, South Africa will now be counting on Senegal to beat Kenya later Monday while keeping a close eye on Tuesday's results in Group E and F.