AFCON 2023: Morocco Star Outlines Atlas Lions Ambition at the Tournament

AFCON 2023: Morocco Star Outlines Atlas Lions Ambition at the Tournament

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at January 11, 2024 at 7:36 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Morocco logo
Romain Saïss logo
R. Saiss
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  • Morocco are the favourites to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
  • Romain Saiss has said Atlas Lions have set a high goal for themselves
  • Morocco last won the AFCON in 1976, and their last final was in 2004

Veteran Morocco defender Romain Saiss has set massive goals for his team at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off this weekend.

Morocco head into the tournament as one of the favourites following their historic run in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Romain Saiss, Achraf Hakimi, Hakim Ziyech, Sofian Boufal, Sofyan Amrabat, 2023 AFCON
Morocco are ranked 13th in the world. Photo by Clive Brunskill.
Source: Getty Images

Morocco find themselves in an interesting predicament. They haven't won the AFCON since 1976, and their performances in the competition have been unsatisfactory.

They are the top-ranked team on the continent, and knowing the standard they set in Qatar, fans expect an AFCON title.

They last reached in 2004 but lost to Tunisia, per BBC. Since that tournament, they have endured humiliation after humiliation. From group stage exits to knockout heartbreaks, they've seen it all.

For many pundits and fans, it is now or never for Morocco's golden generation.

Romain Saiss on Morocco's AFCON goals

The Al-Shabab defender says he understands that expectations are high following their legendary World Cup run.

“We have set high goals for ourselves. We want to have a big AFCON. We know that everyone is waiting for us now after our 2022 World Cup and we have a big responsibility of doing well," via CAF.

The former Wolves player proceeded to disclose Morocco's ambition at 2023 AFCON.

“A successful AFCON for Morocco means going as far as possible and that means going to the end of the tournament. When we start a tournament, it is to go as far as possible and the furthest possible is the final."

Walid Regragui's side kick off their campaign on January 17 against Tanzania, then face DR Congo before concluding the group against Zambia.

Morocco with the most to prove at AFCON

Sports Brief earlier reported on Morocco making the list of African national teams with the most to prove in Cote d'Ivoire.

Despite having some of the best African talent over the years, the North Africans have struggled to make a mark in Africa's biggest football tournament.

Ghana and Nigeria are the other teams that will be expected to go all the way since they have produced some of Africa's best players.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.