After an unexpected below par preparation in their build-up to the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019, Morocco need to conform their pre-tournament favorites tag when they start their Group D campaign against Namibia at Cairo based Al Salam stadium.
The Atlas Lions have to beware their opponents, the Brave Warriors as they head to their second ever meeting in the history of the AFCON. Morocco coach Herve Renard appears aware of the difficulty in front his side. "The first match is always difficult because all the teams start with a great motivation. We must expect a tough meeting and it is up to us to make it easy”, he said.
The Frenchman who knows very well the African continent having won two AFCON titles with Zambia and Cote d'Ivoire in 2012 and 2015 respectively, admitted he also fears the temperature at Al Salam stadium, as the game is scheduled to kickoff at 16:30 local time (14:30 GMT). "It is not the time we prefer, these conditions are not easy but we must manage these parameters by avoiding technical errors and making the difference as quickly as possible”, added Renard.
His counterpart Ricardo Mannetti expects a hard mission as his team returns to the continent’s flagship competition after 11 years of absence. "It will be a difficult meeting, we do not take into account their defeats in friendly matches, because we will play against one of the tournament favorites”, he admitted.
Despite this, Namibia, participating in its third AFCON, hopes to create the surprise. "We will do our best to get the 3 points, because we are here to give the best and to make our fans happy", added the Brave Warriors coach.
Previous AFCON meetings
21.01.2008 Accra Morocco 5-1 Namibia