Scout Report – Achraf Bencharki (The Moroccan Dybala) by Youssef Amin
Achraf Bencharki has meteorically risen to stardom in the world of African football following his superb performances which led Wydad Casablanca to the CAF Champions League title at the expense of Egyptian side Al Ahly. He finished off as the tournaments 3rd top scorer with 5 goals and he also won the best player of the tournament accolade. He is already being likened to Paulo Dybala by the Moroccan press and I think that is a good comparison because their playing style is very similar. These performances really put him on the footballing map and in this article I look at what makes him such a good player.
Who is Achraf Bencharki?
Achraf Bencharki was born on September 24th 1994 in Fes Morocco, he is 23 years old. He started his career at his local club Mas Fes and he stayed there for the entirety of his youth career until he joined Wydad Casablanca for 190 thousand in 2016. He has 5 caps for the Moroccan under 23 sides in which he has scored 4 goals and he was recently given his debut for the senior side by Herve Renard in a vital qualifying game against the Ivory Coast. He has played 86 games in his club career so far while scoring 28 goals.
What is his style of play?
Achraf Bencharki is a modern deep lying forward who loves to be involved in the build up and possesses heaps of technical ability. He often drops back into midfield to receive the ball from his teammates and try and create chances. He also has very good vision and a eye for a pass which allows him to create chances for his teammates as well as trying to score. He a very good finisher who has an eye for goal and is effective in prowling the box and feeding of scraps, very much a natural goalscorer.
Bencharki is versatile and can also play on the left as an inside forward cutting inside and trying to take shots and ass a trequartista in behind the striker where he uses his technical ability and vision.
He is primarily used as a lone striker though where his mix of attributes allows him to thrive and become the main player of his team. He is not your typical striker as he is not very strong but he makes up for that with his technical ability and footballing intelligence.
What are his strengths?
His main strength is his technical ability which makes him stand out. He is a very good dribbler who possesses a fair amount of flair and he loves taking players on, he often goes past 3 or 4 players in the same move using his dribbling ability and skills. He utilizes this very effectively when he is team is under pressure and he can help by being a pressure relieving player. He also uses this skill to hold up the ball in wait of his teammates, while most strikers use their strength to hold up the ball Bencharki uses his dribbling ability to fend off opposition defenders. His vision is also super and he often picks out players with beautiful passes.
He is obviously a good finisher who can put away his chances and he is very effective in the box. He uses his pace to get in behind defenders and he very rarely misses.
What also makes him stand out are his mental attributes, he is almost immune to pressure and he performs very well under pressure. He scored 2 goals in the CAF Champions League semi final against USM Alger to send Wydad through and he then proceeded to score and assist in the final against Al-Ahly. A player who’s maturity belies his age.
What are his weaknesses?
His most obvious weakness is his strength, or to use the better expression his lack of it. His body shape is very thin and he is often shrugged off the ball due to his lack of strength. A player I would liken him too in terms of body shape is Dybala as he has very thin arms and a wiry figure, unfortunately this means he goes down very easily and is prone to the occasional dive.
He is also a bit selfish with the ball, his dribbling ability is superb but sometimes that means he holds on to the ball for too long and it is eventually cut out. His decision making is overall very good but he is prone to an erratic decision or two and an occasional lapse of concentration in which he seems to drift out of the game.
I fancy Bencharki to continue his rise and eventually end up at a European club, most probably in France. His international career also seems to have taken off and he has an ample opportunity considering Morocco’s lack of strikers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bencharki ended up as Morocco’s starting striker for next years World Cup and performed very weel. The future is bright for this talented prospect.