Malawi has just squandered its tiny qualifying chances by losing 2-1 to Comoros, sealing instead Morocco’s CAN 2019 qualification.
Mohammedia – When Morocco impressively defeated Cameroon yesterday (2-0), catapulting Morocco’s Lions to Group B leadership with 10 points, qualification was merely mathematical.
They still needed to wait for the next group B game between Malawi and Comoros.
Despite the joy that came with defeating Cameron, there was in the air a lingering aura that suggested that the qualifying journey still had a next stop. The game against Malawi—assuming first that Malawi defeats Comoros— was still waiting, and it counted enormously for sealing the qualifying spot.
So Morocco’s coach, who is famous for his take-nothing-for-granted attitude, seemed to be preaching self-constraint and respect for future opponents. Having coached Zambia in 2012, an underdog squad that shocked the entire African continent, Renard knows what can happen in 90 minutes of football.
Meanwhile, Malawi needed two spectacular games—against Comoros today and against Morocco in April 2019—to change Group B dynamics, and perhaps even spoil Morocco’s ultimate joy: qualification. But Malawi’s loss has smashed the country’s hopes to qualify for CAN 2019.
The defeat also ends any prospects of surprises in Group B, casting the dice for Morocco, who can now fully relish the joy of sealing qualification before the last game.
Mission accomplished, then, as we prematurely reported yesterday. While qualification for Moroccan Lions was simply mathematical after their victory against Cameron, it is now official.
And, as they now majestically sit on top of Group B with 10 points, having outclassed Cameroon (second with 8 points) in terms of head-to-head encounter, Morocco’s Lions can already start dreaming about being the continent’s champions.
Bottom line: there will be no need to wait until the last game to engage in a thrilling anything-is-possible-in-football exercise.