Walid Regragui warns Morocco to guard against complacency ahead of Tanzania opener

Walid Regragui warns Morocco to guard against complacency ahead of Tanzania opener

Morocco manager Walid Regragui has urged his team to focus on the Africa Cup of Nations and put their World Cup heroics behind them as their opening match of the continental showpiece with Tanzania looms.

The Atlas Lions head into the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the trophy after their remarkable performance in Qatar, where they became the first African side to reach the semi-finals before losing 2-0 to eventual runners-up France.

They kick off their latest quest for glory against Group F Tanzania at the Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pedro on Wednesday, with Regragui taking nothing for granted.

He told a press conference: "Since the start of the competition, there haven't been any easy matches. Our first match is important for us to enter the competitive atmosphere."

The sides last met in a World Cup qualifier in November last year when Hakim Ziyech and a Lusajo Mwaikenda own goal secured a 2-0 win for Morocco.

Regragui, who boasts Paris St Germain defender Achraf Hakimi and Manchester United midfielder Sofyan Amrabat among his squad, will be without defender Noussair Mazraoui through injury.

The Taifa Stars, who have made the finals for just the third time, have included four players in their squad who are currently plying their trade at non-league level in England.

Defender Haji Mnoga, who is on loan at Aldershot from Portsmouth, Wealdstone frontman Tarryn Allarakhia and Boreham Wood midfielder Mohammed Sagaf are all playing in the National League, while forward Ben Starkie is on the books at Northern Premier League Premier Division Ilkeston Town.

Head coach Adel Amrouche, who tempered earlier comments criticising the Royal Moroccan Football Federation's influence over the African game, said: "I spoke out a month ago, saying they are one of the best teams in the world. They reached the semi-final.

"They are not a team that win by luck, they win with their abilities. They deserve."

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