Walid Regragui is allowed to remain as the national coach of Morocco despite the early elimination at the Africa Cup. This was announced by the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) on Monday.Embed from Getty Images
The situation surrounding Walid Regragui, the head coach of Morocco's national football team, became a topic of intense speculation following Morocco's unexpected early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations.
The team's performance was particularly disappointing given their recent impressive showing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where Regragui successfully led the Atlas Lions to a remarkable semi-final appearance. This unexpected success had raised expectations for the team's performance in the Africa Cup.
Regragui himself acknowledged the heightened expectations and the team's failure to meet them. He publicly stated his willingness to resign from his position if the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) deemed it necessary, citing the team's failure to reach at least the semi-finals in the Africa Cup as a significant shortcoming. This statement added to the speculation about his future as the head coach.
Despite these uncertainties, the FRMF, led by President Faouzi Lekjaa, decided to continue with Regragui at the helm. This decision, announced on Monday afternoon, reflects the federation's continued faith in Regragui's capabilities and leadership. Lekjaa's support is seen as a significant vote of confidence in Regragui, particularly in light of the recent disappointment. This support is further underscored by the fact that Regragui, a 48-year-old former coach of Wydad Casablanca, has been with the national team since 2022 and is under contract until the 2026 World Cup. The federation's decision gives Regragui another opportunity to prove his mettle and lead Morocco in the upcoming African qualifying series, which resumes in June, with the goal of qualifying for the next World Cup.
In contrast, the Egyptian national team, another prominent African football nation, took a different approach following their early exit from the Africa Cup. Egypt, which had reached the final in the previous edition but lost, was unable to progress past the round of 16 in this tournament. Their defeat came at the hands of DR Congo, in a match that ended in a penalty shootout. Notably, Egypt's team was without its star player, Mohamed Salah, who was sidelined due to an injury.
The Egyptian Football Association reacted to this early exit by dismissing their national coach, Rui Vitória. The Portuguese coach, who had been appointed in the summer of 2022, succeeded another Portuguese, Carlos Queiroz, in the role. Vitória's dismissal reflects the high expectations and pressure on national teams in the highly competitive landscape of African football, where success in continental competitions is often seen as a benchmark for evaluating the performance of coaches and teams.