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The Atlas Lions

Les Lions de l'Atlas

Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, May 14 2019 06:20PM

(CAFonline.com) Frenchman Herve Renard still ranks as they first coach in African history to win the Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with two different teams. Renard produced one of the most scintillating results ever leading Zambia to the 2012 crown with a penalty shoot-out victory over Cote d’Ivoire.



Three years later, he turned the Ivorians tears from 2012 into chants of jubilation when he led them to the title with another post-match penalties conquest, this time over Ghana’s Black Stars.



He now looks straight at another unprecedented piece of history with Morocco’s Atlas Lions as he hopes to win a third continental crown with a side that has not won the title since 1976. Renard and his charges reached the quarter final of the 2017 showpiece losing 1-0 to Egypt.



Can Renard, and the Atlas Lions dream of quenching a 43-year old thirst?


“I don’t know…. everything is possible in football but first we have to look at our opening game which is the most important, then step by step. We have a tough group and it will be very important to come to Egypt with an ambition of respect all our opponents,” the Frenchman stated.


Morocco are in Group C with Renard’s former employers Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Namibia.


“We are in a very tough group and we need to come in here very concentrated. We have to be ready from the first game to get a good result which will give us some confidence going forward,” he added.


The 50-year old will be counting on the experience from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia where despite bowing out in the group stages, the Atlas Lions gave encouraging performances. They finished bottom of the group after replicate 1-0 losses to Iran and Portugal and drew 2-2 with Spain who equalized in the final minute of added time.


“This experience will be very important because we played very good football. Though we didn’t get the result we wanted, all Moroccans were proud of their team. Now, we have to make them very happy again in Egypt,” stated the coach.


“We are coming in with an ambition and if you come with an ambition you have to beat everyone. We have a very good team and we need to believe in ourselves.”


Renard believes going through to the final will be tougher this time especially with the expansion of the tournament to 24 teams.


“The expansion makes it more difficult because there is one more round to play and the teams are more ambitious. But we are hoping to go very far in this tournament,” Renard noted.



Morocco topped their qualification group ahead of Cameroon with both sides picking 11 points with identical three wins, two draws and a loss from group B. The only loss they suffered was against each other, Cameroon winning the first leg (1-0) and Morocco winning the return tie (2-0).



Based in Cairo, Morocco will kick off their campaign against Namibia on 23 June at the Al Salam Stadium before playing Cote d’Ivoire five days later on South Africa on July 1 all at the same venue.

By The Atlas Lions, May 10 2019 04:08PM

(Africanfootball.com) Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has refuted reports that suggested that the Nigeria Football Federation has agreed a friendly match against Morocco.


Recent reports indicated that the two teams are set to lock horns in a pre-Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match on the 9th of June 2019 in France.


This came as a surprise as the Super Eagles are scheduled to face Zimbabwe in a friendly game on June 8 in Asaba, Nigeria.


German tactician Rohr confirmed that they will not be facing the Atlas Lions.


"It was about organizing this friendly match, but unfortunately it cannot be done," said Rohr to Medias 24.


Nigeria are also expected to take on their West African rivals Senegal in another friendly match on the 16th of June 2019.


The Super Eagles will be hoping to clinch their fourth AFCON title in Egypt.

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 23 2019 12:40PM

The Ajax star had once vowed never to play in the Morocco stripes under the French tactician

Herve Renard has shouldered ‘99%’ of the blame for Hakim Ziyech's decision to desert Morocco in the past.


Both parties got off to an underwhelming start, with the Ajax star frustrated at the treatment he received from the Frenchman.


Renard's first test as Morocco's coach was a 2017 African Cup of Nations doubleheader against Cape Verde in March 2016.


Ziyech, who had been impressive in the campaign, was dropped for the first leg before being handed a substitute role in the reverse fixture in Marrakech.


He was then left out of the preliminary squad for the finals in Gabon.


The decision prompted the Ajax star to declare his intention never to return to the national team fold as long as the Afcon-winning manager remained in charge. He stuck to the decision until the problem was resolved later.


Now, Renard has finally accepted that he was at fault.


"I was appointed coach. I start training on Monday. We play on Saturday in Cape Verde on a synthetic field with a lot of wind; a typical African game with the characteristics that I know. I put Hakim in the stands, we start on a difficult base, we play the return to Morocco three days later, he returns for 25 minutes, but he was certainly not satisfied with the stage in its entirety,” Renard said on Le Vestiaire, a RMC Sport show.


“I made a mistake here. Do not talk to him, everyone is on his side, the situation is tense, he's coming back, the third time he's a little hurt... until I do not pick him any more.”


Renard maintained that Ziyech's character ‘remained impeccable’ in spite of all he faced.


"There is nothing about it. He has never shown bad character, he never reacted badly, on the contrary, he remained impeccable, even if, of course, he was not satisfied, and after a year, my president told me, 'We need to go see him, you see the season he's doing.'


"I said 'yes, on his qualities, there is nothing to say, that's what we need,” he continued.


"We went to Amsterdam and after three minutes of conversation, everything was settled, he wanted to come back, he is very attached to the national team, I needed him and I recognized my mistakes."


Ziyech has not only become a star performer in Renard's squad, he is now one of the best players in Europe.


His showings this season has helped Ajax reach the semi-finals of the Uefa Champions League, dumping out Real Madrid and Juventus in the process. And they have their eyes set on the Eredivisie title.


He starred in Morocco’s underwhelming outing at the 2018 Fifa World Cup and is set to play a crucial role at his first Afcon finals in June.


The Atlas Lions have been placed in Group D alongside Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Namibia.


https://www.goal.com/en-us/news/morocco-coach-herve-renard-opens-up-on-hakim-ziyech-mistake/f4a9cwjguym71imowesneexrb

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 22 2019 02:52PM

According to Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr, the Nigeria Football Federation are in talks with their Moroccan counterparts over a friendly ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Shortly after the AFCON draw, Rohr revealed that the three-time African champions will face Senegal in a friendly before the start of the tournament in Egypt, and this has been confirmed by Senegalese Football Association President, Augustin Senghor.

Another friendly with West African rivals Ghana had been proposed but the game is unlikely to hold because the Black Stars have chosen to hold a three-week get-together in the United Arab Emirates as part of their preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Asked by Medias24 if he would like to face Morocco as part of preparations, Rohr said: ''There is a possibility that we play a friendly match against Morocco before the AFCON, but nothing is decided yet.

''We really like playing against this good team from Morocco. But in March, it was not possible because we already had a scheduled friendly meeting with Egypt at home in Nigeria.''


The Atlas Lions, who are one of the favourites to win the 2019 AFCON, have not met the Super Eagles in an international match since 2004.


https://futaa.com/article/178545/nigeria-football-federation-in-talks-with-morocco-over-friendly-game

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