Wednesday 12 June 2024

On CNN, Walid Regragui Highlights Atlas Lions’ Ambitions at Africa Cup of Nations

Washington – Morocco’s national football team head coach, Walid Regragui, highlighted, in an interview broadcast by CNN, the ambitions of the Atlas Lions at the Africa Cup of Nations, noting that the team will do its best to win the tournament.

Winning the Africa Cup of Nations “is very hard” but the players “will do their best” to claim the title and make the Moroccan people happy again, said the head coach of Morocco, which according to the US news channel is now part of the “elite” of world football after the historic performance achieved at the last World Cup.

“More than a year after a fairytale performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, all eyes are still on Morocco’s national football team and its head coach Walid Regragui,” CNN pointed out.

“And to up the stakes even more, they are one of the favorites to win this latest edition of the Africa Cup of Nations,” CNN added during this interview carried out at the Mohammed VI Football Complex in Salé.

According to Regragui, Morocco has “important goals” during this CAN. “In this training center [Mohammed VI Football Complex] there is a photograph of the national team which were the last winners of the African Cup in 1976. Every day when the players come here, they look at the photo and get inspired. My goal as a coach is not to remove this photo but it is to put a new photo of the next winners here,” Morocco’s head coach stressed.

The Atlas Lions head coach, who noted that Morocco must regularly qualify for the World Cup, did not rule out the possibility that an African team would win the trophy one day.

Regarding his personal achievements, Africa’s “Coach of the Year” said that “these are not things I’m very interested in”. “What interests me most is my team,” he underlined.

“Today many individual trophies are awarded, either CAF, Ballon d’Or or FIFA Awards. It is nice to see Africans like myself at these awards, because it enhances the continent, and most of all, it enhances the Moroccan football landscape,” Regragui said.

On Tuesday, Morocco will take on South Africa in the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations.

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he Moroccan National Football Team secured a large victory against Congo Brazzaville 6-0 on Tuesday at the Agadir Grand Stadium in the 4th round of Group E (African zone) qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

The Atlas Lions’ goals were scored by Azzeddine Ounahi (8’), Chadi Riad (16’), Ayoub El Kaabi (20’, 39’, 53’) and Soufiane Rahimi (62’).

Morocco beat Zambia 2-1 on Friday at Agadir’s Adrar Stadium in the 3rd Day of Group E (African zone) qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

The Atlas Lions won thanks to goals from Hakim Ziyech (6th) and Eliesse Ben Seghir (67th). Edouard Chilufya (80th) scored for Zambia.

With this victory, Morocco consolidate their position at the top of Group E with six points from two matches.

The game against Congo Brazzaville, part of matchday 4, will be held on June 11 at Agadir’s Adrar Stadium (8pm), instead of the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Moroccan national football team will play Congo Brazzaville, on June 11 at the Grand Stadium of Agadir, for the 4th day of the African qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) announced.

FRMF had received a letter from FIFA informing it that the Congo Brazzaville-Morocco match will be held at the Grand Stadium of Agadir on June 11 (8 p.m.) instead of the Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, FRMF pointed out in a press release.

Atlas Lions will play Zambia tonight in Agadir for the 3rd round of these qualifiers.

Morocco tops Group E with 3 points, following their away victory against Tanzania (0-2) on November 21. Zambia, Niger and Tanzania, who have each played two matches, also have 3 points. 

Head coach of the Moroccan national team Walid Regragui said, on Thursday in Agadir, that the Atlas Lions’ objective is to win their match against Zambia and stay top of Group E of the African qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2026.

“We will do what is necessary to get the three victory points to stay ahead in our group,” he told a pre-match press conference before the Morocco-Zambia game, scheduled for Friday at the Adrar Stadium in Agadir for Matchday 3 (Group E).

“Zambia are a team we know well, having played them at the last Africa Cup of Nations, but Friday’s match will be held in front of our own fans and will certainly be different from AFCON,” he said.

In this regard, he noted that the Moroccan national team “can do better than their recent performances. In the last two games, we scored a goal (against Angola in a friendly), but the important thing is to have chances which we need to convert”, he added, noting that “it’s not a question of attacking play, because the national team creates a lot of chances, but we’re still lacking in goal-scoring efficiency”.

“We have talented players. But working at club level is different from working for the national team. With the succession of matches, I think the players will be more at ease and therefore more effective,” he said.

“Playing at home means we have to win, but the important thing is to qualify for the World Cup,” stressed Regragui, explaining that “qualification is a marathon with several matches, and we’re well prepared for this marathon. Our ambition is to give Morocco a third consecutive appearance at the World Cup”.

For his part, Zambia coach Avram Grant noted that his team would be facing a Moroccan side packed with stars who play in the world’s top leagues, with the ambition of winning the game, adding that Friday’s encounter would be different from that of the last AFCON.

Morocco lead Group E with 3 points, after their away win over Tanzania (0-2) on November 21. Zambia, Niger and Tanzania, who played two matches, also have 3 points.
 

Morocco’s national beach soccer team on Monday started a training camp at the Mohammed VI Football Complex in Maâmora (suburbs of Salé), the Royal Moroccan Football Federation said.

Fifteen players have been called up by national head coach Gilberto Da Costa de Souza to participate in this training course, which runs until May 7th.

The players called up are Yasser Abada, Manar M’hamed, Anouar Al Abbasi, Ibrahim Abagli, Reda Zahraoui, Adnane Oubahri and Radouane Ennaciri.

They also include Mustapha Tais, Amine Al Bidouri, Zouhair Jabbary, Driss Ghannam, Badr Al Kraichly, Mohamed Essahli, Ali El Khdym and Mourad Youssef.

The head coach of the Moroccan Olympic team, Tarik Sektioui, has called up 26 players in preparation for the friendly game against Belgium, scheduled for June 4 at Moulay El Hassan Stadium in Rabat, as part of the preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The national team will play Argentina, Ukraine and Iraq in the group stage of the Olympic tournament.

List:

– Goalkeepers: Alaa Bellaarouch (RC Strasbourg/France), Walid Hasbi (RC Strasbourg/France), Rachid Ghanimi (FUS Rabat), Mohamed Reda Asmama (Union Touarga).

– Defenders: Omar El Hilali (RCD Espanyol/Spain), Zakaria Elouahdi (KRC Genk/Belgium), Mohamed Jaouab (Amiens SC/France), Mehdi Boukamir (R Charleroi SC/Belgium), Ayman Elwafi (FC Lugano/Switzerland), Adil Tahif (RS Berkane), Ayoub Amraoui (Amiens SC/France), Adam Aznou (Bayern Munich/Germany), Akram Nakach (Union Touarga), Haytam Manaout (Union Touarga). 

– Midfielders: Benjamin Bouchouari (AS Saint-Etienne/France), Yassine Kechta (Le Havre AC/France), Mohamed Nassoh (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands), Amine Souane (MC Oujda).      

– Forwards: Montassir Lahtimi (Wydad Casablanca), Salim Eljebari (Atletico de Madrid/Spain), Amine Elouazzani (EA Guingamp/France), Yanis Begraoui (Pau FC/France), El Mehdi Maouhoub (Raja de Casablanca), Tawfik Bentayeb (Union Touarga), Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Real Betis/Spain), Ibrahim Salah (Stade Rennais FC/France).