CAIRO (AFP) – Morocco coach Herve Renard is anticipating a “tough game” against South Africa tonight (12 midnight Brunei time) at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt despite the contrasting fortunes of the teams.
While Morocco were deserved 1-0 winners over the Ivory Coast in Group D – considered the hardest of the six – South Africa were lucky to lose only 1-0 to the west Africans.
“South Africa have a lot of very good players,” said Renard, the only coach to win the African title with two countries. “They also have a good coach in Stuart Baxter so it will be a tough game.”
AFP Sport previews the final group matches in Cairo with Morocco and Algeria already assured of last-16 places.
Morocco vs South Africa
Although Morocco won by only one-goal margins against Namibia and the Ivory Coast, they have exhibited class and appear to be keeping plenty in reserve for the knockout phase.
The goal that sunk the Ivorians demonstrated why the Atlas Lions are considered one of the biggest threats to hosts and bookmakers’ favourites Egypt.
South Africa have been poor both when losing to the Ivory Coast and scraping a win over Namibia with Baxter lamenting the “slowness of transitions from defence to attack”.
Ivory Coast vs Namibia
After outplaying South Africa, the Ivorians came off second best against Morocco, but should recover to defeat spirited but limited Namibia and secure a last-16 place.
It will concern coach Ibrahim Kamara, though, that with so many talented forwards like Nicolas Pepe at his disposal the Elephants have managed just one goal in 180 minutes.