Walid Regragui: This is why Morocco lost AFCON 2023 race

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FOOTBALL Walid Regragui: This is why Morocco lost AFCON 2023 race

Festus Chuma 15:14 - 31.01.2024

Morocco's AFCON 2023 campaign ended unexpectedly early, with Coach Regragui reflecting on the reasons behind their surprising exit from the tournament.

Despite entering the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 as one of the favorites Morocco's journey ended in a surprising last-16 defeat.

The Atlas Lions, led by head coach Walid Regragui could not replicate the form that made them 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists falling to South Africa in a 2-0 loss.

This outcome has left fans and analysts pondering what went wrong for the 1976 champions in Ivory Coast.

Regragui, in a post-match introspection, shouldered the responsibility for the team's shortcomings.

"We made many technical errors and lacked patience in the buildup play," he told beIN Sports.

This lack of composure, especially in key moments, was a critical factor in Morocco's inability to capitalize on their chances.

The former international highlighted how the team's rush to score led to missed opportunities a recurring issue throughout the tournament.

The game against South Africa, in particular, was a microcosm of Morocco's problems. Goals from Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena for South Africa underscored the defensive lapses, while Morocco's missed penalty was emblematic of their offensive woes.

"The match could have been decided in the first half, but at this level, every missed opportunity is immediately punished," added Regragui.

What stood out in Regragui's reflection was his acknowledgment of the team's effort and adherence to instructions.

"The players gave everything and executed the instructions. We came with great humility, but today we must accept that we failed in our mission.

"It’s a great disappointment for our fans who supported us in the tournament and helped us a lot, and today, this failure is mine to bear as a coach," he further remarked.

Looking ahead, Regragui faces the task of rebuilding and preparing the team for upcoming challenges.

With Morocco set to host the next tournament, the pressure and expectations will be high. The coach seems ready to take on this challenge, using the AFCON 2023 experience as a learning curve. 

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