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Morocco coach declares: ‘No special plan to cage Mbappe’




The fear of Kylian Mbappe is the beginning of wisdom for opposing teams. That maxim may not be going down well with the coach of Morocco, Walid Regragui as his team confront France in a potentially crunch semi-final duel on Wednesday.

In the tournament, the Cameroon-born Paris-St Germain star has been a terror. With five goals in five matches, he is the leading scorer.

But Regragui, at a press conference this Tuesday said that the French team pose too many individual threats that will not allow any reasonable opposing coach to concentrate on just one.

“I am not going to try and set up any particular tactical plan to counter Kylian,” he said.

“France also has other good players. (Antoine) Griezmann is on top of his game and playing well between the lines and Ousmane Dembele is also a perfect complement to Mbappe on the other wing.


“If we just focus on Mbappe that will be a mistake. They are world champions, with world class players and they will be going for it with all they got. We need to focus on what we can do to cause problems for France.”

Mbappe, on the left of the attack, goes up against Paris St Germain club mate and close friend Achraf Hakimi, who is Morocco’s highly rated right back.

“Achraf knows Mbappe better than me and trains with him on a daily basis, so he’s better placed than I am to know how to deal with Kylian. Hakimi is one of the best players in the world, so it’s going to be a great duel between the two,” Regragui said.

Morocco go into the semi-final looking to add France to an impressive list of scalps at the tournament but needing to get players fit in time after the exertions of their five games in Qatar.

Morocco were still struggling with “a lot of injuries” said the coach, but players were recovering. There are concerns over the first-choice centre back pairing of skipper Romain Saiss and Nayef Aguerd in particular.


“We have an excellent medical team and they have been coming with good news. But we will have to wait until the last minute to select the team. None is out yet, but no one is in either,” he said.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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