Football

Morocco have a lot of great players to win 2022 Afcon – Sevilla’s Bounou

The Atlas Lions hope to end their 46-year wait for the continental crown next year after they were eliminated in the Round of 16 in Egypt

Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou believes Morocco have the quality to fight and win the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Atlas Lions are among the 24 teams that have qualified for next year’s showpiece which will begin in January and he hopes the country ends their 46-year wait for the title.

Morocco have not won the Afcon trophy since 1976 and their best finish since that year has been as runners-up in the 2004 edition in Tunisia.

At the last Afcon in Egypt, they were eliminated in the Round of 16 by Benin via penalty shoot-out but he is confident Vahid Halilhodzic’s side can dominate the continent again in Cameroon.

“We are looking forward to that with great optimism, we have a lot of great players, and the team is currently able to fight and compete in order to reach the top and win the African Cup of Nations,” Bounou told Goal.

When quizzed further about their chances of making it to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, he said: “The same thing, we are confident that the Moroccan team will be among the 5 teams that will qualify for Qatar, but it is clear that there is a very good rise in the level of other teams, and the most important goal is to reach the World Cup.”

They have been paired against Guinea, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau in Group I of the World Cup qualifiers which will begin in September.

The Canada-born goalkeeper has made a name for himself in La Liga following strings of impressive performances for Sevilla and previously at Girona.

In the just-concluded season, the 30-year-old became the first goalkeeper to ever score for Sevilla in the Spanish top-flight with his late strike that salvaged a 1-1 draw against Real Valladolid in March.

After a fourth-place finish and a Uefa Champions League qualification spot in the 2020-21, Bounou highlighted his target for the upcoming campaign.

“My goal in the coming period is always to shine, whether on a personal level or with the team in general, and what really matters is the team’s achievements, and we have set a good model in the current season, and the key to achieving these achievements is to continue and insist on achieving our goal,” Bounou concluded.

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