Friday 19 April 2024

AFCON-2023: We Need to Learn Lessons to Bounce Back Stronger, Says Regragui

AFCON-2023: We Need to Learn Lessons to Bounce Back Stronger, Says Regragui

We need to learn from our elimination in the Round of 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON-2023) in Côte d’Ivoire and look to the future to bounce back stronger, said national coach Walid Regragui.

“We went into this AFCON with the reputation of finishing fourth at the World Cup, so every team was looking to beat the Moroccan team. We weren’t up to the task, perhaps because of the pressure. It’s a competition that hasn’t been easy for us historically. We need to look at the problems that are holding us back and resolve them in preparation for the next AFCON in Morocco,” stressed Regragui in an interview broadcast by the Arryadia channel on Friday.

“We’re one of the teams who have created the most chances at this AFCON and we had possession of the ball, but we lacked efficiency. That’s something we need to work on,” added the Moroccan coach.

Referring to preparations for the AFCON, Regragui said conditions were good. “Our preparations began 15 days before the first match. We went early to get acclimatized, which is what had to be done in terms of preparation. The Royal Moroccan Football Federation has ensured the right conditions for this participation”, he said.

With regard to the changes made to the squad during the competition, Regragui stated that they were motivated by the profile of each player and their usefulness for each match, not forgetting injuries and illnesses which necessitated changes to the team.

Concerning the competitiveness of some of the players called up, he noted that “on the physical side, there’s no logic. We had a top-class World Cup with players who weren’t regulars at their clubs. Perhaps it’s the mental aspect that has affected the team’s game”.

Regragui also spoke about the incident with DR Congo player Chancel Mbemba, which led to his suspension, later overturned by the CAF Appeals Committee. “Maybe it is my fault. I like approaching players and greet them in good faith, but perhaps the timing was wrong. These things happen in soccer.

MAP:17 February 2024

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   Last Friday, the Moroccan squad bested Angola 1-0 in a friendly game at the same stadium.

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Group A: France, United States, AFC 4 Intercontinental Play-off winner, Guinea and New Zealand

Group B: Argentina, Morocco, AFC 3 and Ukraine

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Group D: AFC 1, Paraguay, Mali and Israel

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