By The Atlas Lions, Jan 10 2019 01:17PM
(Morocco World News) After four decades without senior continental glory, is Morocco’s national squad finally ready to claim continental dominance at the Africa Cup of Nations?
Rabat – Moroccan football is “ambitious” and now has the squad it has been asking for for years.
The upbeat assessment came from an equally upbeat Fouzi Lekjaa, president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation. Lekjaa was speaking to Moroccan Radio Mars just hours after winning the title of the best African football federation president.
In the radio interview, Lekjaa laid out Morocco’s ambitions as its Atlas Lions grow in confidence and beauty.
Despite early elimination at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Morocco’s national team won plaudits for the quality of their game, especially the attacking philosophy they have been displaying under the guidance of coach Herve Renard.
Based on the team’s World Cup quality and recent displays in the CAN qualifiers, Lekjaa argued, “it would be natural if Morocco won this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).”
Despite being generally voted among Africa’s best football teams, the Atlas Lions’ history is still wanting. The country only has one continental crown to its name.
Morocco won the 10th CAN in 1976 in Ethiopia. The closest the country came to reliving that 1976 glory was in 2004, when hosts Tunisia beat Morocco 2-1 in the final. Since then, continental glory has eluded Morocco’s team, with the squad struggling to even reach the semi-final stages.
While Moroccan clubs—mainly Wydad and Raja—have been performing well at the continental level, it will take a CAN victory to usher Morocco into a position of continental prominence in football.
For Lekjaa, the current quality suggests that Renard and his renaissance boys can right decades of trophy drought. He suggested that Morocco’s “ambition to win is legitimate given the quality of their game.”
CAN 2019 will be held in Egypt from June 15 to July 13. The continental showpiece will this year count 24 teams, up from 16 in past tournaments.