Morocco’s manager Walid Regragui has insisted he has no concerns with Egypt’s elimination, adding that his team isn’t the favourite against South Africa.
Morocco will come up against South Africa in the round of 16 on Tuesday at the Laurent Pokou Stadium in San Pédro.
The Atlas Lions are currently one of two North African nations remaining in the competition with Mauritania following Egypt’s defeat to DR Congo on Sunday.
While the result made Walid Regragui label Morocco as the underdogs for the South Africa tie, he also refused to comment on the Pharaohs’ defeat.
“I don’t care about Egypt’s exit from the AFCON. They are indeed our brothers, and we felt sadness for them, but the Egyptian national team is like any other, like Congo,” Regragui said in his pre-match press conference.
“What matters to me is Morocco, and I don’t think about playing for the Arab flag. We play for Morocco.
“Egypt’s exit? The truth is that it’s tough for North African teams in this edition. They have all been eliminated except Mauritania and us. This means that what we are doing is good so far.
“Sofiane Boufal’s journey in the Africa Cup of Nations has ended unless there is a miracle, due to his muscle injury.
“Hakim Ziyech’s eligibility for the South Africa match? We will try with him until the last moment to play, but if I say that we won’t take risks with him, it would be disrespectful to South Africa.
“Despite the criticisms I received regarding calling up Noussair Mazraoui, thankfully, he can play. I can’t say whether he will start or sit on the bench, but overall, the player is ready.
“The knockout stage is a new tournament. Any bad result will send us home. We have experience in the knockout stages after our outstanding performance in the 2022 World Cup.
“I don’t want to talk about the past. Everyone knows Morocco’s history in the AFCON. Every edition is tough for us despite our efforts to win the title.
“We respect South Africa because they are the only team that defeated us after the World Cup. We are not the favorite to qualify after seeing the surprises in this edition.
“Facing South Africa won’t be easy, yes, we respect them but without any fear.
“We must be humble, and I believe we are on the right path. We came to Ivory Coast to win the title.”
Source: King Fut