Thursday 30 May 2024

AFCON-2023: Morocco’s Head Coach Praises Ideal Training Environment in San Pedro

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.

MAP

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Morocco’s football team head coach, Walid Regragui, unveiled the 27-man squad selected to take part in the two upcoming matches of the Atlas Lions against Zambia and the Republic of the Congo in the FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers (African Zone).

The Atlas Lions will face Zambia on 7 June in Agadir, and the Republic of the Congo on 11 June in Kinshasa, in the 3rd and 4th rounds of Group E respectively.

Here follows the list of players called up:

 Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Al Hilal/Saudi Arabia), Mounir El Kajoui (Al Wehda FC/Saudi Arabia), El Mehdi Benabid (AS FAR).

Defenders: Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain/France), Mohamed Chibi (Pyramids/Egypt), Abdelkabir Abqar (Deportivo Alaves/Spain), Achraf Dari (Royal Charleroi S.C./Belgium), Nayef Aguerd (West Ham United/England), Ghanem Saïss (Al Shabab/Saudi Arabia), Chadi Riad (Real Betis/Spain), Yahya Attiat Allah (PFC Sochi/Russia), Noussair Mazraoui (Bayern Munich/Germany).

Midfielders: Sofyan Amrabat (Manchester United/England), Oussama El Azzouzi (Bologna FC/Italy), Bilal El Khannouss (Genk/Belgium), Ibrahim Diaz (Real Madrid/Spain), Ismael Saibari (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands), Oussama Targhalline (Le Havre/France), Amir Richardson (Stade de Reims/France), Azzedine Ounahi (Olympique Marseille/France).

Forwards: Hakim Ziyech (Galatasaray/Turkey), Ilyas Akhomach (Villarreal/Spain), Ayoub El Kaabi (Olympiakos/Greece), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla FC/Spain), Soufiane Rahimi (Al Ain/United Arab Emirates), Amine Adli (Bayern Leverkusen/Germany), Eliesse Ben Seghir (AS Monaco/France).

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   From the outset of the game, the national squad faced a strong Mauritanian defensive block, pushing Walid Regragui’s men to maintain their pressure to create chances, notably through Soufiane Rahimi and Brahim Diaz, but in vain.

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Morocco’s national football team beat Angol 1-0 in a friendly game, held Friday evening at the Grand stadium in Agadir.

The Atlas Lions dominated the game from start to finish, but they had to wait until the 71st minute for the opening goal, after Angolan defender David Carmo accidentally put the ball into his own net.

Despite this small win, the national squad, slightly reshuffled with the entry into play of Real Madrid star Brahim Diaz and AS Monaco player Eliesse Ben Seghir, played a great game against a well-organized Angolan defense.

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