Morocco v Zimbabwe: Morale returning for disqualified AFCON hosts
Morocco began 2014 out to build momentum throughout the year ahead of hosting the Africa Cup of Nations in early 2015, but that has all come crashing down in recent months.
The outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa, especially in the west of the continent, sparked fears in Morocco that the country could suffer as a result of such an influx of people.
Those concerns have ultimately seen Morocco not only stripped of their right to host the AFCON, but also disqualified from the competition.
They responded to that revelation by hammering Benin 6-1 on Thursday and Morocco will once again look to impress against a team placed 13 places below in the FIFA rankings in 101st.
Morocco coach Badou Zaki also has a host of impressive talent to call upon including Abdel Barrada and Mehdi Benatia, currently representing the sides top of the table in France and Germany - Marseille and Bayern Munich - respectively.
Injuries to Nabil Dirar and Mbark Boussoufa limit Badou's creative options, but Nordin Amrabat stepped in well on Thursday, netting once.
Abderrazak Hamdallah continued his fine introduction to international football, the Guangzhou R and F man hit the net twice to take his international record to seven goals from 10 appearances.
Tallying that with Hamdallah's 22 goals in as many Chinese Super League games this term likely makes him the one player that Zimbabwe will have to watch if they are to keep a second straight clean sheet after last month's 2-0 win away to Swaziland.
Indeed, Zimbabwe's form in away matches recently will give them confidence of springing a surprise.
Three wins in their last six road games include victories at South Africa and Malawi, though their only recent competitive clash away from home resulted in a 1-0 defeat to Tanzania, which contributed to their AFCON qualifying elimination at the first hurdle.