* Forwards Taarabt and Chamakh fail to make squad
* El Hamdaoui returns after loan move to Fiorentina
* Taraabt's exclusion a boost for struggling QPR
LONDON, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Morocco have left Queens Park Rangers forward Adel Taarabt out of their 24-man African Nations Cup squad for the finals which start in South Africa next month.
The 23-year-old does not feature on the player list for the tournament, which runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10, published on the Royal Moroccan Football Federation website (www.frmf.ma).
However, Dutch-born striker Mounir El Hamdaoui has returned to the squad for the first time since September after reviving his career on loan at Fiorentina from Ajax Amsterdam.
Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh has also been omitted from the list which includes Aston Villa midfielder Karim El Ahmadi and Liverpool forward Oussama Assaidi from the Premier League.
Morocco will play on the opening night against Angola in Johannesburg and also face Angola and Cape Verde in Group A.
The mercurial Taarabt has been out of favour with the national team but hoped to have done enough to impress Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi, who took charge in the summer.
"I hope to be at the African Nations Cup but even if I'm not there, and that would be painful, I'll be the biggest Morocco supporter," he said on the lequipe.fr African soccer blog.
Taarabt's exclusion will boost QPR in their battle to avoid relegation under new manager Harry Redknapp. They are second-bottom of the Premier League, five points from the safety zone.
Goalkeepers: Khalid Askri (Raja Casablanca), Nadir Lamyaghri (Wydad Casablanca), Anas Zniti (Maghreb Fes)
Defenders: Younes Belakhdar, Abderahim Achchakir (both Royal Armed Forces), Zakarya Bergdich (RC Lens), Abdelhamid El Kaoutari (Montpellier), Mehdi Benatia (Udinese), Issam El Adoua (Vitoria Guimaraes), Ahmed Kantari (Stade Brest)
Midfielders: Adil Hermach (Al Hilal Riyadh), Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa), Younes Belhanda (Montpellier), Mehdi Namli (Moghreb Tetouan), Kamel Chafni (Stade Brest), Chahir Belghazouani (Ajaccio), Abdelaziz Barrada (Getafe), Abdelilah Hafidi (Raja Casablanca)
Forwards: Oussama Assaidi (Liverpool), Nordin Amrabat (Galatasaray), Abderrazak Hamdallah (Olympique Safi), Youssef El Arabi (Granada), Mounir El Hamdaoui (Fiorentina), Youssef Kaddioui (Royal Armed Forces) (Writing by Ken Ferris in London, additional reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; editing by Justin Palmer)
- Sports & Recreation
- Adel Taarabt
- Mounir El Hamdaoui
- Marouane Chamakh
- Queens Park Rangers
- Karim El Ahmadi