San Pedro (Côte d’Ivoire) – Moroccan national football team’s head coach Walid Regragui on Friday said that the decision to come early to Côte d’Ivoire’s town of San Pedro, where Group F games of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be held for the Moroccan team, was a wise one, adding that “the training environment in San Pedro is ideal”.
“We are very pleased to have arrived much earlier. We were scheduled to play against Gambia, but unfortunately the match was canceled at the last minute. We had to adapt,” he told the website of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF).
“This granted us three extra days to get used to climate in San Pedro, which is very hot. It’s good for players to adjust to this heat,” he said, expressing gratitude to the Federation for providing optimal conditions in terms of accommodation, staff, recuperation facilities and the training pitch, to prepare well for this AFCON.
“For our first match against Tanzania, the most important thing is to play with a full squad. We’ve established a style of play that we aim to replicate at the AFCON,” Regragui pointed out.
In the friendly against Sierra Leone on Thursday,” he continued, “we attempted to play at a similar time of our second game (at 2 pm LT against DR Congo, editor’s note). We knew that the heat would be decisive for our success. These are challenging conditions for our players, who nevertheless performed admirably by securing a win and delivering an enjoyable game.
“Admittedly, there are still a few details to iron out, but we’re confident in our potential,” he said, acknowledging the pressure on the players.
“We have supporters and people behind us. We don’t want to disappoint them,” he said, affirming that the players are motivated to win the trophy.
“We’re all looking forward to experiencing the same emotions as we did at the 2022 World Cup,” he added.
The Atlas Lions’ first training session, open to the media, is scheduled for Saturday at 4:45 pm (local time) at the August Denise Stadium in San Pedro.
Drawn in Group F alongside Tanzania, DR Congo, and Zambia, Morocco will play their first match against Tanzania on 17 January.