ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire – Walid Regragui will continue as Morocco coach in spite of their AFCON failure, the national football federation announced in a statement.
Hopes were high for Morocco in Côte d’Ivoire after Regragui had led them to the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a first for any African nation.
After finishing top of their group with two wins and a draw, however, the Atlas Lions lost 2-0 to South Africa in the round of 16, which “caused disappointment”, the federation said in the statement.
“I failed. It’s my failure, not the players,” said Regragui who had previously said he would step down if Moroccan did not at least reach the quarter-finals.
But the 48-year-old head coach will remain in place with the Moroccan federation saying it wanted to “mobilise all means to ensure full success for the national team” ahead of the 2025 AFCON and 2030 World Cup, which are both set to take place in the North African country.
Regragui’s AFCON was also marred when he was suspended by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after an altercation with Congolese defender Chancel Mbemba at the end of a group match — a decision that was later overruled after an appeal from the Moroccan federation.
In a statement, the Moroccan FA (FRMF) said that president Fouzi Lekjaa held “held several evaluation meetings regarding the participation of the national football team in the Africa Cup of Nations finals,” concluding that it was in the best interests of the nation to keep Regragui in his post.
It read: “The president of the Royal Moroccan Football League, Lekjaa, stressed the need to continue working and making every effort to give the national team and football the status it deserves in order to delight the Moroccan fans in the upcoming competitions, especially the 2026 World Cup qualifiers and the preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations finals that our country will host in the summer of next year.
“On this occasion, the Royal Moroccan Football Association renews its confidence in Regragui to lead the next phase, giving him all the support and assistance to achieve the status that national football in general and the national team in particular deserves.”
Regragui was appointed on a four-year deal as Morocco head coach in September 2022, replacing Vahid Halilhodzic.
He guided Morocco to the semi-finals of the Qatar World Cup just a few months later — becoming the first African side in the history of the competition to do so — as they topped their group and beat Spain and Portugal before losing against France.