Morocco’s defensive stalwart, Romain Saiss, has outlined ambitious goals for the Atlas Lions as they gear up for the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire 2023.
Speaking ahead of the showdown, Saiss expressed the team’s determination to make a significant impact in the tournament and believes that a successful campaign means reaching the final.
The Atlas Lions, who arrived in Côte d’Ivoire on January 7, have set up camp in San Pedro, where they will compete in Group F alongside DR Congo, Zambia, and Tanzania.
Fresh from a historic semi-final finish at the FIFA World Cup, the Moroccan team is eager to replicate their success on the continental stage, eyeing a second TotalEnergies CAF AFCON title since their last triumph in 1976.
Saiss, who plies his trade in the Saudi Pro League for Al-Shabab, acknowledged the weight of expectations on Morocco, emphasizing the team’s readiness to make their nation proud. He spoke about the high targets the team has set for themselves, aiming for a memorable AFCON campaign.
“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. So we want to have a great competition for Morocco and make all the people who follow us proud,” stated Saiss, highlighting the team’s sense of responsibility.
Arriving early in Côte d’Ivoire to acclimatize to the weather and fine-tune their preparations, Saiss underlined the team’s focus on the upcoming challenges. With the competition set to kick off soon, he expressed confidence in the team’s readiness, emphasizing the importance of refining details in the lead-up to the opening match.
When discussing the ideal finish for Morocco in the tournament, Saiss articulated a clear objective – reaching the final. He stated, “A successful AFCON for Morocco means going as far as possible, and that means going to the end of the tournament. The goal is to stay in Cote d’Ivoire for a long time.”
Saiss outlined the team’s approach, focusing on the group stage matches initially and then taking it game by game as they progress. The Atlas Lions will commence their AFCON campaign on January 17 against Tanzania, followed by encounters with DR Congo and Zambia on January 21 and 24, respectively.
As Morocco aims for continental glory, Saiss’s commitment and the team’s collective determination set the stage for an exciting and potentially historic AFCON journey, with eyes firmly set on a final appearance in Côte d’Ivoire.