‘We have our destiny in our hands’ – Morocco’s Boutaib ready for Cote d’Ivoire World Cup showdown

The 30-year-old is upbeat of leading the Atlas Lions to Russia when they play the Elephants in a decisive World Cup qualifying encounter

Yeni Malatyaspor forward Khalid Boutaib is ready to secure a World Cup berth for Morocco when they battle Cote d’Ivoire in a crucial qualifying game on Saturday.

The Atlas Lions sit at the summit of the Group C with a point above Marc Wilmots’ men and are in need of a point at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan to seal their ticket for Russia 2018.

Despite admitting the difficulty of the encounter, Boutaib is eager to meet the fans' expectations with the country’s first World Cup appearance in 19 years.

“We have our destiny in our hands. We do not need to worry about the result of the match between Mali and Gabon,” Boutaib told Fifa website.

“It is of course a good thing, to be in good position just before a decisive match like this. But we know that it will be very difficult.

“Playing away from home, facing one of the best African teams, is not easy. There will be most of the stadium against us, even though we will have fans there to support us. We must expect a match with a lot of commitment, because the stakes are huge.

“Moroccans love football, and they really want us to make it to Russia. If we qualify, there will be a lot of joy. Before I became an international, even I was eager for the team to make it to the finals. So I can understand the impatience of the fans,” he concluded.