Morocco's African Cup qualifier postponed in wake of deadly earthquake

AGADIR, Morocco (AP) — Morocco's qualifying game for the African Cup of Nations was postponed on Saturday in the wake of the earthquake that struck the country, killing more than 1,000 people.

Morocco had been scheduled to play Liberia in Agadir on the country's western coast, but the Moroccan soccer federation said the game had been postponed indefinitely after an agreement with the Confederation of African Football.

The earthquake that struck late Friday night also damaged buildings from villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakech.

Agadir is roughly 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of the epicenter of Friday’s tremor near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province.

The Gambian national team was in Marrakech during the earthquake ahead of a decisive qualifying game against Congo on Sunday. Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet told BBC World Service that he initially thought an airplane had crashed into the team's hotel.

“It seems it was only 30 seconds but it felt endless. It was really scary," Saintfiet said. "The walls were really shaking and things were falling down from the ceiling and the walls. I never in my life saw a building moving like that. When it stopped, I started running and checking if my team members were also out of their rooms."

No team members were reported injured.

Marrakech was hosting the game because of stadium problems in Gambia. CAF did not immediately respond to an email about the status of Sunday's match.

Morocco star player Achraf Hakimi took to social media to offer his condolences to victims of the earthquake.

“It is time to help each other to save as many lives as possible. My condolences to all who lost a loved one,” Hakimi wrote on Instagram.

The magnitude-6.8 quake was the biggest to hit the North African country in 120 years.

On Friday morning, the Morocco team arrived in Agadir and then trained at Adrar Stadium in the afternoon.

The Atlas Lions made a historic run at last year's World Cup in Qatar, becoming the first African team to reach the semifinals, where they lost to France.

Morocco has already qualified for the 24-team African tournament, which begins in January in Ivory Coast.

The team was also scheduled to play a friendly match in France against Burkina Faso on Tuesday.


AP soccer: