CAN 2017

Herve Renard: "Morocco must grasp Cup of Nations chance"

Morocco coach Herve Renard has called on his side to 'seize the opportunity' at the Africa Cup of Nations after fulfilling their initial objective of reaching the quarter-finals

Herve Renard: "Morocco must grasp Cup of Nations chance"
JUSTIN TALLIS AFP

Burkina Faso vs Egypt

Morocco first team coach Renard spoke as his side prepared to face Egypt in the CAN 2017 quarter final: "It is already a privilege to be in the last eight but now we need to be much more ambitious than that," Renard told reporters ahead of Sunday's meeting in Port-Gentil, Gabon.

Morocco made it to the quarter-finals as runners-up in Group C after eliminating the Ivory Coast, the team Renard coached to the title two years ago.

Other fancied sides like Algeria and the hosts Gabon failed to make it out of their groups and suddenly Moroccans are daring to dream of glory in a competition they have not won since 1976.

"Sometimes the African Cup can be more difficult than this so when you are lucky enough to safely negotiate the group stage against very strong teams you need to seize the opportunity," said Renard, 48. "It would be extraordinary if we could go a lot further."

Morocco had not even made it beyond the group stage at the Cup of Nations since losing the 2004 final to hosts Tunisia.

Sin tituloMorocco's French national football team coach Herve Renard takes part in a training session in Port-Gentil on January 27, 2017, during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in Gabon. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS

"I have already received some quite moving messages from people I know in Morocco, who maybe usually watch La Liga, Barcelona or Real Madrid. "They are supporters of these teams but it is not the same thing. They are filled with pride just now," added Renard, who is bidding to become the first man to win the Cup of Nations three times with three different countries.

The Frenchman also led Zambia to glory in Gabon in 2012.

"To be able to have a great party when we return to Morocco would be magnificent. And I know what I am talking about," he added.

Moroccan supporters celebrate a victory after the end of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group C football match between Morocco and the Ivory Coast in Rabat on January 24, 2017.