Karim El Ahmadi is desperate for Africa Cup of Nations success and hopes Morocco can bounce back from their opening defeat at the hands of DR Congo when they take on Togo on Friday.
Herve Renard’s men were among the favourites heading into the tournament, but disappointed in their Group C opener as DR Congo proved to be too strong.
They desperately need a win against Togo to keep their chances of reaching the knockout stages alive and El Ahmadi has stressed they must act as a team and adapt if they are to succeed.
“I want to achieve something with Morocco. That is my goal and what the entire team wants,” El Ahmadi told NOS.
“We are all hungry for success. It is about time.
“I think we are among the favourites, in particular when you look at our individual quality. But a lot of things play a role at the Africa Cup of Nations. It is going to be very tough.
“You have to be strong as a team. We have a lot of individual talent, but you face bad pitches and physically strong opponents at the AFCON. We have to adapt.”
Whereas Morocco disappointed on matchday one, Togo impressed as they held champions Ivory Coast to a scoreless draw.
Captained by veteran striker Emmanuel Adebayor, they put in a solid shift at the back and looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
Adebayor is hoping to build on that performance versus the Atlas Lions. A win would put Togo in pole position for a surprise spot in the quarter-finals.
“We have a big chance but have to keep our heads,” he told The Guardian. “At 4pm on Monday people at home said we were going to lose 5-0 against Ivory Coast. At 7pm they said we were going to be champions.”
PLAYER TO WATCH
Morocco – Mbark Boussoufa
The 32-year-old is one of the most experienced players in Renard’s squad and remains a key figure for his country even if he no longer plies his trade in one of Europe’s top leagues.
Boussoufa has the ability to open up a game with one moment of individual brilliance, with his dribbles and passing skills a joy to behold if he is on top of his game.
The attacking midfielder was unable to make the difference versus DR Congo and he will be fired up to give a better account of himself against Togo.
Togo – Mathieu Dossevi
Emmanuel Adebayor remains Togo’s main man in attack, but Dossevi is prove that there is much more to Claude Le Roy’s side than the former Arsenal striker.
The Standard Liege ace impressed in the scoreless draw with Ivory Coast with his clever movement and good runs down the wing, even if he did not manage to find the net.
Dossevi will be hoping to put in another performance versus Morocco, this time managing to add to to his tally for Togo and spring another surprise.
KEY OPTA STATS:
– This is Morocco’s 16th AFCON participation; their only title dates back to 1976.
– Meanwhile, this is Togo’s eighth AFCON. They have only reached the knockout stages once in their previous seven participations; it was in 2013 when they went out in the quarter-finals.
– Only two of Morocco’s 15 shots in their opening defeat against DR Congo (0-1) were on target.
– Togo have won only one of their last 11 games in the tournament (drawing four, losing six). They have also failed to score in seven of their last 11 games at the AFCON.
– Morocco claimed victory in the most recent encounter between these sides (2-1, 2016); Togo had gone five matches unbeaten against them immediately before that run.
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