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AFCON 2023: Why Morocco will be team to beat in Ivory Coast – Saiss

Moroccan defender Romain Saiss has explained why the Atlas Lions will be the team to beat when the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations gets underway in Ivory Coast on January 13.

The Atlas Lions were the first to arrive in Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday where they landed in Abidjan before departing for San Pedro where they will be based for their Group F pool consisting of DR Congo, Zambia and Tanzania.

“We have set high goals for ourselves. We want to have a big AFCON. We know that everyone is waiting for us now after our 2022 World Cup and we have a big responsibility of doing well. So we want to have a great competition for Morocco and make all the people who follow us proud,” Saiss, who plies his trade in the Saudi Pro League for Al-Shabab, said as quoted by CAFOnline.

On why Morocco arrived earlier in Ivory Coast, Saiss said: “We arrived quite early to acclimatize to the weather here. We are preparing very well. We know that the competition starts soon, and we still have a few days to refine the details before the start.”

On how far Morocco want to go in the 34th edition, he said: “A successful AFCON for Morocco means going as far as possible and that means going to the end of the tournament.

“When we start a tournament, it is to go as far as possible and the furthest possible is the final. We will concentrate on the group matches, get through the groups and then we will take it game by game once this first objective is achieved. The goal is to stay in Cote d’Ivoire for a long time.”

The Atlas Lions will kick off the campaign on January 17 against Tanzania before facing DR Congo four days later. They then finish the group stages with an interesting clash against Zambia on January 24