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Afcon 2023: Morocco boss Walid Regragui cleared to return after Caf lift ban

Morocco boss Walid Regragui gestures on the touchline

Morocco coach Walid Regragui has been cleared to take charge of their last-16 clash against South Africa at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after his two-match ban was lifted following an appeal.

Regragui was suspended for four games and fined $5,000 by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) on Wednesday, with two games of that ban suspended for one year.

The sanctions related to post-match incidents following Morocco's 1-1 draw with DR Congo in the group phase.

Caf confirmed an appeal by the Moroccan football federation (RMFF) against its decision had been partially successful, and that it had overturned Regragui's ban and fine.

The 48-year-old served the first match of his suspsension against Zambia on Wednesday and was replaced on the touchline by his assistant Rachid Benmahmoud as the Atlas Lions won 1-0 to finish top of Group F.

A Caf disciplinary board had also fined DR Congo's football association and the RMFF $20,000 each following the incidents, but did not publicly explain its decisions.

The RMFF was also handed an additional $10,000 fine for the use of smoke bombs by Morocco supporters during the match, although half of the amount is suspended.

The match between Morocco and DR Congo at the Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pedro was a tense affair, as scuffles broke out between both sets of players following the full-time whistle.

A Caf appeal board confirmed all three fines would stand.

Morocco are among the favourites to take the Afcon 2023 title after their heroics at Qatar 2022 when they became the first African team to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup.

The North Africans will face South Africa in the last 16 in San Pedro on Tuesday (20:00 GMT), with the winners going on to play Mali or Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals.