Morocco coach Regragui on the touchline: Image via Facebook @ Walid Regragui

Morocco coach Regragui on the touchline: Image via Facebook @ Walid Regragui

Bafana Bafana’s Afcon opponents Morocco suffer huge setback

Bafana Bafana will go into the next 2023 Afcon battle with a slight advantage due to a setback that their opponents Morocco have suffered.

Morocco coach Regragui on the touchline: Image via Facebook @ Walid Regragui

Morocco coach Regragui on the touchline: Image via Facebook @ Walid Regragui

The coach for Morocco, South Africa’s next opponent at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals, has been suspended. The Confederation of African Football (Caf) handed Walid Regragui a four-game ban on Wednesday. The award-winning mentor will, therefore, not be in the dugout when his Atlas Lions face Bafana Bafana on January 30, 2024. The knockout match will take place at Stade San Pedro in Ivory Coast at 10:00 pm Central Africa Time.

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What happened between Morocco coach and DRC skipper?

The suspension follows an altercation the coach had with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) captain Chancel Mbemba. The incident happened in the tunnel of Stade San Pedro in Ivory Coast on Sunday. Trouble ensued after the game between Morocco and the DRC had ended one-all. Mbemba, according to reports, claims that Regragui started the scuffle after calling him an idiot. The South African could not verify this claim independently. The Moroccan Football Federation has since hinted that it would appeal the Caf ban because Regragui did not violate the values ​​of fair play.

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Who will be in charge when the Atlas Lions face Bafana Bafana?

Regragui’s chances of coaching Morocco at this tournament are slim. Assistant coach Rachid Benmahmoud will oversee the North Africans when they take on the South Africans. The Atlas Lions beat Zambia 1-0 on Wednesday to date the 1996 winners in the knockout stage. Speaking to the Caf website after the match, Morocco midfielder Sofyan said the suspension of their coach came as a surprise. He said: “We heard the news today. It was surprising. We missed him but we made do with the situation. We hope to have him for the next match.” Nonetheless, Amrabat said they were determined to sail past South Africa. He added: “We want to go as far as possible in this tournament and we will do our best to succeed.”

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How South Africa reached the round-of-16 for Afcon

South Africa booked their place in the round of 16 after frustrating Tunisia to a goalless draw on Wednesday. The result saw the Hugo Broos’ men finish in second place in Group E with four points. Mali topped the log table with five points. The Eagles had started the tournament with a 2-0 win over South Africa before being held by Namibia and Tunisia. The Carthage Eagles have since crashed out of the competition.

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Confirmed 2023 Afcon Round-of-16 fixtures

Morocco                 v      South Africa

Eq. Guinea              v      Guinea

Egypt                       v      DR Congo

Cape Verde            v     Mauritania

Senegal                   v      Ivory Coast

Mali                          v      Burkina Faso

Angola                    v      Namibia

Nigeria                    v      Cameroon