Morocco: Romain Saiss says Atlas Lions must do better at tournaments

Morocco defender Romain Saiss shell shocked after his side were knocked out of Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt by Benin
Morocco defender Romain Saiss during a penalty shoot out between Morocco and Benin at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt

Morocco and Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Romain Saiss says his team has to do better at tournaments.

This comes after the Atlas Lions' shock defeat at the hands of Benin at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

He admitted Morocco sometimes struggle against the so-called weaker nations.

"We have to do much better," said Saiss, speaking just before the appointment of Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic as the new Morocco coach replacing Frenchman Herve Renard.

"We expected to go really far in this competition. We saw in this competition that when we play a team that are maybe lower than us, sometimes we struggled.

"But when we played against very good teams, we were good so we have to work on it because people in Morocco expect more from their national team.

"A country like Morocco has to go to the semi-finals of every Afcon."

Morocco had been tipped by some as possible winners of the Nations Cup in Egypt but lost in the last 16 on penalties to Benin.

The Atlas Lions had progressed from the group stage with three 1-0 wins over Ivory Coast, South Africa and Namibia.

Despite appearing at five World Cups, Morocco have only won the Nations Cup once, back in 1976.

New coach Halilhodzic has a squad of talented young players plying their trade in top leagues across Europe, and the expectation from their fans is that they should go far at major tournaments.

He has been set the task of taking Morocco to the semi-finals of the 2021 Nations Cup in Cameroon and to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar a year later.

Halilhodzic has plenty of experience in Africa after qualifying Ivory Coast for the 2010 World Cup, although he lost his job before the tournament.

He also led Algeria to the finals in Brazil four years later.

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