Himachal Pradesh News Flash

AFCON: Moroccan World Cup players want to end the 48-year drought of the African trophy

<p>When Morocco won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 1976, coach Walid Regragui was only five months and twenty days old.</p>
<p>Morocco won the second and final competition in Ethiopia after a thrilling 1-1 tie with Guinea in the mini-league.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-347103″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/theindiaprint.com-afcon-moroccan-world-cup-players-want-to-end-the-48-year-drought-of-the-african-tr.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com afcon moroccan world cup players want to end the 48 year drought of the african tr” width=”1077″ height=”718″ title=”AFCON: Moroccan World Cup players want to end the 48-year drought of the African trophy 3″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/theindiaprint.com-afcon-moroccan-world-cup-players-want-to-end-the-48-year-drought-of-the-african-tr.jpg 510w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/theindiaprint.com-afcon-moroccan-world-cup-players-want-to-end-the-48-year-drought-of-the-african-tr-150×100.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1077px) 100vw, 1077px” /></p>
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<p>Given that Morocco is a continental football superpower, few could have predicted that 48 years later, as Moroccans celebrated conquering Africa, the Atlas Lions would still be vying for a second championship.</p>
<p>The closest they have got to a second victory came in 2004, when Regragui played right back for a side that lost the championship match 2-1 to host Tunisia.</p>
<p>While the history of the Cup of Nations has been one of constant letdowns, Morocco achieved unprecedented success as the first African and Arab semifinalists in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.</p>
<p>Despite having little chance of advancing out of a group that included Belgium and Croatia, they managed to overcome Spain and Portugal and eventually lost to France in the semifinals.</p>
<p>“Our actions during the World Cup were extraordinary.” Born in a district of southern Paris, the 48-year-old said, “We put Africa on the map of the world.”</p>
<p>Morocco is under more pressure to win the 2024 Cup of Nations after their incredible World Cup performance, with some analysts calling them the “red-hot favorites.”</p>
<p>In Group F in the Ivory Coast, where the competition begins on Saturday, they will play two past winners, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as outsiders Tanzania.</p>
<p><strong>The African Cup’s “curse”</strong></p>
<p>Four more obstacles need to be overcome, if they advance to the knockout round, for Morocco to break what Regragui refers to as “the curse of the African Cup.”</p>
<p>The Atlas Lions had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals in their previous seven Cup of Nations participation, and in 2019 they were stunningly defeated by underdogs Benin in the last-16.</p>
<p>Regragui tells reporters that “there are at least 10 teams that can win the Cup of Nations,” rejecting the notion that his squad are the clear favorite.</p>
<p>“We don’t have the upper hand. On the continent, there are teams that are superior than us. Following the World Cup held in Qatar, several nations have advanced.</p>
<p>“Among the favorites are groups like Algeria, Egypt, the Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, none of whom made it to the World Cup.</p>
<p>“At the Cup of Nations, any team may defeat any other squad. It is impossible to have an easy group. The African Cup requires really powerful players to win.</p>
<p>After missing out on the 2022 World Cup, DR Congo, a formidable team that twice won the African championship and qualified for the World Cup, is returning under the direction of French coach Sebastien Desabre.</p>
<p>The Leopards, who have a Premier League attacker in Brentford’s Yoane Wissa and an excellent defense in Chancel Mbemba, may pose the greatest danger to Morocco in the group.</p>
<p>“While Morocco must be the favorites to win the trophy, I am hoping we can at least make it to the quarterfinals,” Desabre adds.</p>
<p>After defeating the highly anticipated Ivory Coast in a penalty shootout in the 2012 championship match, Zambia has struggled and missed out on qualifying for the last three tournaments.</p>
<p>The striker for Leicester City, Patson Daka, who scored five goals in the qualifying round, says, “To be part of the group that has taken Zambia back where it belongs is a great achievement.”</p>
<p>Tanzania shares the objective of becoming the first-ever tournament winners with Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Namibia, who are all qualifiers.</p>

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