Morocco 'still motivated' despite securing Olympic place

Hatem Maher, Friday 9 Dec 2011

Morocco determined to win U-23 African Championship on home soil, says coach Pim Verbeek

Pim Verbeek

Morocco are still eager to win the U-23 African Championship despite already qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games, coach Pim Verbeek said on Friday.

The Atlas Lions will face Gabon in the tournament’s final on Saturday in Marrakech after both sides had secured their place at the 2012 London Games.

“Yes we have qualified and that was the number one goal, but the players are motivated enough for the final,” Verbeek, who was the assistant to Guus Hiddink when South Korea reached the World Cup semis in 2002, said in an interview with CAF online.

“We gave them an evening off after the semi-final win and the next morning there was no planned breakfast but a lot of them turned up early so that said enough about their motivation.

“They will do everything to win the game. We want to win this first U-23 African Championship and of course we are playing at home.”

Morocco reached the African Championship final after producing a formidable attacking display to outclass Egypt 3-2 on Wednesday.

Gabon caused an upset after scoring in the last minute of extra time to beat Senegal 1-0 and set up a clash with hosts Morocco.

“I must say Gabon‘s team spirit and determination has impressed me,” Verbeek added.

“They fight for every ball and never give up and that has been impressive and of course they will bring the same qualities into the final.”

Egypt will face Senegal in the third-place playoff earlier on Saturday to determine the third African representative at the Olympic Games.

The loser will still have a chance to qualify for the Olympics via another playoff against an Asian representative.

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