by IANS |
Doha, Dec 17 (IANS) Ahead of their third-place play-off against Croatia in FIFA World Cup 2022, Morocco coach Walid Regragui has said that his side wants to be remembered as Africas best ever team, adding that they surprised people, who will remember their state of mind and human quality as well.
Morocco were not able to provide the fairy-tale ending to their remarkable underdog story when they were beaten 2-0 by reigning champions France in the last four.
They may not be heading to Sunday's final at Lusail Stadium but the Atlas Lions will live long in the memory for causing three huge shocks in knocking out Belgium, Spain and Portugal. So too will their passionate supporters, who flocked to Qatar in their tens of thousands and caused a stirring atmosphere in each match.
When asked how he thinks his side will be remembered, Regragui aims high.
"As the first African squad to go to the semi-finals and as the best African team in history.The results are clear, we are semi-finalists but we have faced some of the best European teams," Regragui was quoted as saying by fifa.com.
"Since we faced big teams on our way, we had some surprises, and I think people will remember our state of mind, our human quality also, because we proved that Moroccans have a lot of values and they have a lot of desire.
We put on a show in the stands too because our fans are extraordinary. I think that everything together proves that this squad will be remembered," he added.
Morocco's feats have naturally brought Regragui's abilities as a coach into focus and considerably raised his profile but he does not want to take any credit.
"I've always said that the players are my priority and I'm not just double-talking. My job is to make them play together in the best possible way, to make people feel that our squad is working, and that the players are fighting for the flag and for the jersey," he said.
"So if I managed to get that message across, great! Honestly, what people say about me is the least of my worries, I don't care about it. The most important thing is what they say about my country and the players," he added.
There is room for yet more platitudes for Regragui's players when Morocco face Croatia and the coach is determined for his side to have one last hurrah by winning their last match in Qatar and securing third spot.
"We are committed to finishing on a victory, for the public too. Taking third place means being on the podium. So it is important for the country, and for the players, to finish well in this competition. We will give our best effort to bring home third place," he concluded.