How Morocco’s coach Wallid Regragui’s suspension could help Nigeria reach AFCON 2023 final.

Wallid Regragui could be the secret ingredient to help Nigeria reach the AFCON 2023 final | Imago

How Morocco’s coach Wallid Regragui’s suspension could help Nigeria reach AFCON 2023 final.

Ayoola Kelechi 23:59 - 26.01.2024

With the right series of events, Morocco's head coach Wallid Regragui could become the secret ingredient that the Super Eagles of Nigeria need to reach the 2023 AFCON final

The recent suspension of Morocco's coach, Walid Regragui, has caused a stir in the football world, particularly regarding its potential impact on the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023, especially for teams like Nigeria.

Why Morocco's Regragui was suspended 

Walid Regragui, the head coach of the Moroccan national team, received a four-match ban, with two matches suspended from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) following incidents that occurred after Morocco's 1-1 draw with DR Congo. 

Regragui was accused of making racist comments against a DR Congo player, which he has vehemently denied. The Moroccan Football Federation (RMFF) expressed its disbelief at the decision, citing that Regragui did not violate fair play values. They have also filed an appeal against the decision. As a result of the suspension, Regragui missed Morocco's final group game and will be absent for their Round of 16 tie against South Africa unless the appeal is successful​​​​.

Nigeria’s path to the 2023 AFCON final

By virtue of finishing second in Group A, Nigeria have been given a tough second round berth against fierce rivals Cameroon in the round of 16. If the Super Eagles manage to navigate past the Indomitable Lions, they will face a more favourable (on paper at least) quarterfinal tie against the winners of the match between Angola and Namibia. 

A win in that game would see them reach the semifinal where they could play one of Morocco, South Africa, Cape Verde or Mauritania for a place in the AFCON 2023 final. 

How Wallid Regragui’s suspension can help Nigeria

Given their possible path to the final, Nigeria’s least favoured opponent will certainly be the Atlas Lions of Morocco, who appear to be the only team clearly stronger than the Super Eagles on their side of the bracket. 

With Regragui set to miss the round of 16 tie against South Africa, his absence could become a banana peel for Morocco and cause them to struggle against the Bafana Bafana. 

A win for South Africa would greatly increase Nigeria’s chances of making the final with the toughest team on the side of the bracket gone, but this all still depends on if they can survive the Cameroon test. 

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