Atlas Lions

Hadji talks about coaching staff failure

The national team legend and current assistant opened up about everything that went wrong during the Africa Cup of Nations.

It was on the national radio station, Radio Mars, that Mustapha Hadji talked about the Atlas Lions’ disappointing exit from the round of 16 in Egypt. The 47-year-old clearly pointed out that Morocco had all the means to go far in the tournament, but “bad choices” from the coaching staff let them down.

“We (technical staff) are responsible for the performance and defeat to Benin. We made bad choices and didn’t manage to find a way through a side with ten men on the pitch. We can’t blame the players, nor the federation for this. It’s our fault,” he told the radio.

While taking full responsibility for the early elimination, Hadji was also quick to point out that head coach Hervé Renard was the one with the last word:

“I say what I think, but ultimately the final decision lies with him. He’s my boss after all. For example, I didn’t necessarily agree with our approach against Benin. In my opinion, the moment you get onto the pitch afraid of losing, that’s where you’ve lost in football. That’s what happened to us,” he recalls.

Hadji also talked about his disappointment with the lack of local players included in Renard’s squad, knowing the success of clubs from the Botola in continental competitions the last few years. He thinks the structure of the national championship has improved immensely and that clubs like Wydad, Raja, RS Berkane and Hassania Agadir have proven to possess several players capable of performing at the highest level.

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