One of the World Cup’s most bizarre moments took place on Sunday as Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou appeared all set to line up for his team against Belgium before seemingly ‘disappearing’ seconds before play got underway, with back-up Munir Mohamedi starting the game instead.
Munir Mohamedi replaced Yassine Bounou seconds before Belgium vs Morocco
In the run-up to kick-off, everything appeared to be as it should. Bounou, nicknamed Bono, took part in the warm-up, as usual. He went back into the dressing room, as usual, and then appeared in the tunnel before the game, as usual. The Sevilla shotstopper even came onto the field with the rest of his teammates to sing the Moroccan national anthem. As usual.
However, Bono was then posted missing from the team photo upon the conclusion of the anthem, with Mohamedi taking his place. Not that everyone noticed, however, with the incident confusing viewers around the globe and numerous Twitter accounts posting that commentator Guy Mowbray of UK broadcaster the BBC had referred to Mohamedi as ‘Bono’ for the first 38 minutes of the match.
Why did Bono disappear before Belgium vs Morocco?
While a number of theories have been doing the rounds on social media, BeIN Sports have reported that Bono had been suffering from vertigo during the warm-up and opted to wait until the last possible moment to see if he would be fit to take part in the Group F clash. With nothing having changed, Bono ceded his spot in the starting XI to Mohamedi just as the match was about to begin.
31-year-old Bono has won 47 caps for Morocco and has firmly established himself as his country’s number one goalkeeper in recent years, although Mohamedi, 33, has himself represented his nation on 43 occasions and was the starting goalkeeper at the 2018 tournament in Russia.
Morocco have impressed at the Qatar 2022 World Cup so far, holding 2018 runners-up Croatia to a draw and defeating perennial dark horses Belgium to move to the top of Group F after matchday two. Will they qualify for the knockout stages for the first time since 1986 and if they do, will they be with or without Bono?