In an interview with football-focused media outlet Winwin, former Moroccan international footballer Abdeslam Ouaddou, known for his role in the Moroccan team that reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004, shared his insights on Morocco’s prospects in the upcoming 2023 AFCON.
Ouaddou said that Morocco is not the favourite for the continental competition due to various factors that differentiate the AFCON from the World Cup.
One of the key factors Ouaddou highlighted is the location of the tournament, describing Cote d’Ivoire as a nation renowned for its tropical climate.
According to Ouaddou, the distinct weather conditions in sub-Saharan Africa can pose challenges for North African teams, making it harder to designate them as favorites to win the competition.
Additionally, Ouaddou raised concerns about the quality of pitches in African stadiums, which he believes tend to deteriorate parallel with the progress of teams in competitions. These deteriorating pitches can have a significant impact on the style of play and performance of the teams.
Despite his reservations, Ouaddou maintained that North African teams can still seize the opportunity. He suggested that these teams should adapt their playing styles and have at least two different approaches to enhance their chances of success in the AFCON.
Ouaddou’s views are shared by his former teammate and current Atlas Lions coach, Walid Regragui. Regragui has also recently expressed that he does not consider Morocco as the favorites for the tournament, citing the evolutions of other African teams since the last World Cup, including Ivory Coast, Egypt, Nigeria, and Algeria.
Morocco is in Group F of the competition alongside Tanzania, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo. The Atlas Lions’ first match in the tournament is scheduled for January 17 against Tanzania.
Moroccans are expecting a strong performance in the competition, especially following the team’s historic performances at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Source: Morocco World News