Rabat, January 31, 2024, The Europe Today: Morocco’s coach, Walid Regragui, expressed full responsibility for the team’s unexpected exit from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 2-0 loss to South Africa in the last-16 match. Despite being considered one of the tournament favorites, the Atlas Lions faced a surprising defeat, with South Africa capitalizing on goal-scoring opportunities.
Regragui lamented the team’s lack of cutting edge and missed chances during the match. South Africa’s Evidence Makgopa scored in the 57th minute, and Teboho Mokoena sealed the win in stoppage time. Morocco had several opportunities to level the score, including a missed penalty by Achraf Hakimi in the closing minutes.
In a post-match interview with beIN Sports, Regragui acknowledged the team’s shortcomings, stating, “We could have maybe settled the game in the first half, but at this level, you get immediately punished for any chance you waste.” The coach took full responsibility for the outcome, expressing disappointment with the team’s performance.
Morocco had high hopes of winning their first AFCON title since 1976, following their historic run at the 2022 World Cup, where they became the first African team to reach the semi-final.