Morocco coach, Walid Regragui has vowed to leave his post if he fails to get to the semi-final stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, thesportsbay.com reports.
Speaking after the 2-0 loss to France in the semi-final game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Regragui acknowledged that African football is a different ball game.
“There is more pressure. We know that we were often the favourites but now in the semi-final, we couldn’t hide. There are other things involved. In Africa, it is different but we have a year to prepare.
“I think we will have a bit of time to find our way in the competition. The next match is in March but like I said before, I’m not hiding. If we don’t get to at least the semi-final, then I will leave. It has to be that way. We will go to win,” he said.
Regragui also regretted the early goal conceded as well as his decision to use a three-man defence line.
“Actually, if I had any regret about this game, they will be more about the beginning of the game. We conceded a goal very quickly, which gave more confidence to the French team to continue with their strategy.
“We said if we could get the ball, we will take it. We made too many technical errors at this level. Regardless, we were giving them issues in the first half. In the second half, we were more clever. We lost the ball less, we created so many dangerous situations, but we lacked decisiveness in the last 30 meters, unfortunately.
“We wanted to score early to create some doubt, however, with a team like that and with the talent they have offensively, we knew we could be punished at any moment. That is what happened for the second goal that kind of extinguished our hope.
“I thought having three centre-backs was a good idea as they would have less ground to cover. Sometimes, you have to take risks. We spent two days working on this formation, we were pretty well-organised but we made lot of unforced errors,” he said.
He further acknowledged that the third-place game against Croatia will be mentally hard for his players but declares his intention to win while resting his key players.
“This third-place game will be hard for us, especially mentally. We have lot of injuries and we are exhausted after our last match,” he said.
He also said the feat achieved by the Atlas Lions has changed the face of African football.
“We know we fought until the end. I think not only have we presented an incredible image of Moroccan football, but also of African football as a whole,” he concluded.