Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

De Sa praises Morocco, not impressed by Senegal

'We played them at the Africa Cup of Nations (earlier this year) and we beat them with Egypt, that has to be one of my best victories ever,' said De Sa on the Atlas Lions.

Roger De Sa has praised Morocco for their progress at the 2022 Fifa World Cup, but believes Senegal should have done better, even without talisman Sadio Mane.

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Morocco stunned Spain on penalties in the World Cup last 16 on Tuesday, having already beaten Belgium en route to topping their group. The Atlas Lions will now face Portugal on Sunday in the quarterfinals.

De Sa has recently returned from Qatar, where he was an assistant coach to Carlos Queiroz with Iran, his side unable to make it out of the group stages, edged out in their final group game by the USA.

The former Egypt assistant coach and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper coach is not surprised by Morocco’s progress, and regards Egypt’s win over them at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, in the quarterfinals, as possibly his best ever victory.

“If you got on a plane and went to Morocco, and went to see the set up that the federation have put in place there for the Morocco national team, and the amount of money spent, you wouldn’t be surprised at all (that they have got this far),” De Sa told Phakaaathi on Wednesday.

“They have a football centre that is up there with anywhere else in the world. They have really focussed on the development of players and their national team …, so I am not surprised.”

The Mohammed VI Soccer Complex was recently redeveloped at a cost of around US$60 million, while the Atlas Lions are also benefitted from the experience gained by an exceptional generation of players – the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss and Sofyan Amrabat all star in top European leagues.

“We played them at the Africa Cup of Nations (earlier this year) and we beat them with Egypt, that has to be one of my best victories ever,” added the former Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits head coach.

“That’s because of the quality of their national team, they have so many players playing in the top leagues and not just in squads, actually playing. So I am not surprised Morocco are the leaders of the African challenge (in Qatar).”

De Sa was not so kind to the Teranga Lions of Senegal, even though they reached the last 16, Aliou Cisse’s side losing 3-0 to England on Sunday.

“Senegal should have done better,” he said.

“Without Mane it was difficult but if you look at the Senegal team, they had 12 or 13 players from the Uefa Champions League and they had the same coach for eight years. They have top players from all over the world, so I was disappointed with Senegal.”

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Morocco Qatar World Cup Roger De Sá Senegal