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Search goes on for Moroccan footballers lost at sea

Moroccan club Ittihad Tanger has told the BBC the search continues for two footballers who went missing off the country’s northern Mediterranean coast on Saturday.

Five staff members from the top-flight side were taking part in an excursion on a yacht rented from the beach resort of M’diq – north of the city of Tetouan.

Emergency services rescued three people after the incident, but senior players Abdellatif Akhrif, 24, and Salman El-Harrak, 18, are missing.

Oussama Aflah, Soumaimane Dahdouh and Abdelhamid Maali, a Morocco Under-20 international, were rescued after being out at sea for several hours.

Aflah is a club employee, while Dahdouh and Maali are considered promising young players with the reserve team.

Ittihad Tanger president Mohamed Cherkaoui confirmed the “search for the missing players is still ongoing”.

He also asked members of the media and fans on social media to continue to be careful with the information they share about the pair.

‘We were swimming within sight of the shore’

After being rescued, Aflah spoke to Tanjaoui – a local media outlet – about what happened on Saturday afternoon.

“Everything was normal – we woke up, had breakfast and rented a boat from the marina,” he said.

“On our way out to sea, we were even stopped by the coastguard who made sure our papers were in order and that we had life jackets.

“Everything was fine and we were swimming within sight of the shore and just a few metres from the boat before the sea completely changed and heavy winds took us away from the boat.”

The club’s deputy president Anass Mrabet told Reuters the men were not wearing life jackets when they went swimming.

Ittihad Tanger have been in Morocco’s top flight since 2015 and won the league title for the first and only time in their history in the 2017-18 season.

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