On the eve of the meeting between the Atlas Lions and the Liberian team, national coach Walid Regragui is ready to deal with all eventualities, including player absences or injuries. That’s why he believes it’s a good idea to bring new players into the team.
At the traditional pre-match press conference, national coach Walid Regragui explained that the absence of certain players can be a positive factor. Indeed, the arrival of new talent in the team offers an opportunity to observe them and assess their performances in upcoming matches.
“For example, Soufiane (Amrabat) was injured yesterday during the preparatory sessions, and Hakim (Ziyech) is unavailable, but it’s crucial for us that they regain their fitness to play in the upcoming matches”, he maintained. He went on to say that, on the other hand, “we have some emerging players from the U23s who we’d like to see play, so that they can familiarize themselves with our style of play and integrate into the group”.
Regragui also stresses that his objective is not to make multiple changes, quite the contrary, pointing out that newcomers, although successful elsewhere, always need time to adapt to the team, which is not always easy.
“We have specifically focused on this aspect during this week, so that the new players can acclimatize to our style of play, understand our mentality. And with the absentees, it could be that we’re looking at a new pattern of play and maybe the players who will occupy certain positions can compete with those who are absent”. says the coach.
Looking ahead to the Africa Cup of Nations, he continued, there are a number of possible scenarios. It’s possible that one of the players could be injured, which would require us to anticipate solutions. For Regragui, it’s imperative to have alternatives in order to avoid any unforeseen setbacks in preparation for the African Cup of Nations (CAN) scheduled for early 2024.
“If the absent players were present, to be honest, I wouldn’t have made any changes. However, I had to find a solution to avoid any problems in future matches”. adds the coach.
According to the coach, the objective with the arrival of the new players is to preserve the balance of the team and maintain the backbone, otherwise “we’ll miss an international date for nothing”. He assures us that he plans to make one or two changes for the official match, recalling that against South Africa, a large number of changes had disrupted the cohesion of the team, and it was no longer as recognizable as the one that had taken part in the World Cup.