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Medhi Benatia and Morocco FA banned from the next two African Cup of Nations

Medhi Benatia's competitive international career is in effect over

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It was announced today that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has fined the Morocco FA $1M and barred them from participating in the 2017 and 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON). The decision stems from Morocco's decision in 2014 to refuse to host the 2015 AFCON in response to last summer's Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. While Morocco did request a delay of the tournament, it ultimately went ahead as scheduled with hosting duties quickly falling to the nation of Equatorial Guinea. Additionally, AFCON will reportedly seek up to $9M in damages from the Morocco FA "in compensation for all material damage sustained by CAF, stakeholders and partners as a result of the decision (by Morocco) not to host AFCON 2015".

While the legal squabbling of the various CAF entities isn't of much interest to Bayern Munich fans, it's the effect this will have on Medhi Benatia's call ups to the Moroccan national team that will effect Bayern Munich. With Morocco banned from  continental competitive competition until 2021, at which point Benatia will be 34 years of age, this decision effectively eliminates any chance the Bayern Munich centerback has at holding aloft an international title. While the decision does not effect Morocco's eligibility for the 2018 World Cup, the fact that Morocco hasn't appeared at the World Cup since 1998 doesn't bode favorably for him.

With Benatia now resigned to what is going to be a career of mostly friendly performances for Morocco, it's a sad cruel fate for such a good player who was just now entering what could have been his best years. That it comes at a time for a Morocco side that was posting some good results in the lead up to World Cup 2014 and prior their removal from AFCON 2015 just makes it all the sadder.

I suppose he'll just have to fill his cabinet with trophies at Bayern Munich instead.

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