• 2018 World Cup: Hervé Renard Will ‘Carry the Moroccan Flag as High as Possible’

    By Morocco World News

    Rabat – A few weeks before the beginning of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Hervé Renard is letting the world know about his determination to take the Atlas Lions as far as possible in the competition.

    In an exclusive interview with France 24, the French coach commented on his team’s 2018 World Cup qualification, discussed his experience as a coach, and expressed his dream of seeing “an African team qualify for the semi-finals.”

    During the interview, Renard shared that he hopes to carry “the Moroccan flag as high as possible” as he praised the “magnificent” national team, especially Mehdi Benatia, who he qualified as “an admirable captain.”

    “We have an exceptional state of mind. There is something really solid here. The strength of this team is its collectivity,” he said, adding that he is very grateful to be surrounded by the “right people,” thanking the the Moroccan football federation (FRMF) for putting him in the “best conditions.”

    The former Ivory Coast coach remains concerned about the World Cup preparation that will take place in the last week of Ramadan.

    “Ramadan [last year] was the most catastrophic [training] period since I arrived in Morocco,” he stated, explaining that the team preparations were poorly managed. “We’ll have to be better this time,” he concluded.

    As the interview went on, Renard mentioned Ayoub El Kaabi, the rising star of the Atlas Lions, “has made a tremendous African Championship.”

    “Today, he must cross a new path that is very high. We are putting pressure on him,” said the very determined coach, who has shared that he is very proud to be “representing Morocco.”

    Renard concluded his interview with optimism: “Morocco can get the organization of the World 2026. It would be great for Moroccan football and I believe it!”

    The tournament will begin on June 14. The Moroccan team will first play against Iran on June 15, while the second game will be against Portugal on June 20. Morocco will then play its last game of the first round of the tournament against Spain on June 25.

    On May 14, the coach will unveil his draft list of 35 names, before releasing his final list on June 4.

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