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Moroccan Football Federation president analyzes post-World Cup setback

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 Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), delved into the reasons behind the Atlas Lions’ disappointment at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) following their remarkable performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Reflecting on Morocco’s journey to the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup, where they faced a 2-0 defeat against France, Lekjaa expressed immense pride in the team’s achievements on the global stage.

He singled out the enthralling encounter against Spain in the round of 16, where Morocco clinched victory in a tense penalty shootout, as a particularly poignant moment.

However, the transition from the grandeur of the World Cup to the realities of the AFCON proved to be a significant challenge for the Atlas Lions.

Despite high expectations at the AFCON in Ivory Coast, Morocco’s campaign came to an unexpected halt in the round of 16 with a 2-0 loss to South Africa.

Lekjaa attributed the team’s struggle at the AFCON to various factors, with psychological strain emerging as a primary concern.

The president acknowledged the difficulty faced by players and staff in readjusting their mindset after the euphoria of the World Cup, suggesting that they may have been somewhat “fired up” following their performance in Qatar.

Moreover, Lekjaa emphasized the distinct challenges posed by African football, characterized by its unique technical and physical aspects, which may have impacted Morocco’s ability to adapt to the AFCON environment effectively.

Despite the setback, Lekjaa reaffirmed his confidence in Walid Regragui, the team’s coach, who took full responsibility for the early exit from the tournament.

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Regragui, in turn, acknowledged the multifaceted nature of the team’s disappointment, citing the need to adjust playing style and adapt to challenging climatic conditions.

While acknowledging the disappointment of Moroccan fans, both Lekjaa and Regragui stressed the importance of learning from the experience and regrouping for future challenges.

As the Atlas Lions reflect on their AFCON campaign, attention now turns to their preparations for upcoming tournaments, with a renewed focus on addressing the diverse factors that contributed to their recent setback.

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