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    Walid Regragui: Morocco must end 47-year Afcon wait before they can be world ‘kings’

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    Morocco and Brazil players contest the ball
    Morocco became the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final when they qualified for the last four at Qatar 2022

    Morocco head coach Walid Regragui has told his team they must beat Africa for a second time before they can beat the world.

    The World Cup 2022 semi-finalists on Saturday recorded a first win in their history against the team ranked number one in the world, Brazil.

    The Atlas Lions have not, however, lifted the Africa Cup of Nations title since 1976.

    “I told my players that we cannot be kings of the world before being kings of our continent,” Regragui said.

    The Atlas Lions, who are the first African side to reach the last four of a World Cup, beat Brazil, themselves five time World Cup winners, 2-1 in a friendly on Saturday.

    It came just a day after Morocco’s place in the 2023 Afcon was sealed without kicking a ball.

    A 2-2 draw between South Africa and Liberia meant neither country can catch Regragui’s team in Group K.

    “You know it means a lot for us to beat Brazil, the top team in the Fifa ranking, and the country of football,” Regragui continued.

    “This is the month of Ramadan, we have to go and pray Tarawih to confirm if it’s true or not.

    “Now we are going to celebrate but it’s a long way to go. We must not get on fire.”

    Sofiane Boufal and Abdelhamid Sabiri’s goals in Tangier earned Morocco the win over Brazil with Manchester United midfielder Casemiro pulling one back for the Selecao.

    Walid Regragui
    Morocco head coach Walid Regragui celebrating after his side beat Brazil 2-1 in a friendly

    Now, with a place at the next Afcon assured, Regragui has told his players they must beat Africa first before beating the world.

    “When I say we must win the African Cup, they say that I am exaggerating,” Regragui continued.

    “I must be careful, so I say we are not going to play for a win but we only play for happiness.”

    The Atlas Lions’ progress from Group K with six points was confirmed when Liberia came from two goals down to force a 2-2 draw against hosts South Africa.

    Having record two wins against Liberia and South Africa so far, it meant that Morocco qualify from a group reduced to three sides after Zimbabwe were suspended by Fifa for government interference.



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