“The game cannot be won before it is played. We should not underestimate [the Central African] team. They have good players. They are in constant evolution, and they always create trouble for their opponents,” Halilhodzic said in a televised interview.
“The Moroccan squad is missing some of its players,” he added, “while the Central African team has all of its core members.”
Morocco will face the Central African Republic tonight at 8 p.m. (Moroccan time) as part of the 2021 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers. The game will take place in Casablanca.
Meanwhile, the second leg of the double confrontation between the Atlas Lions and Les Fauves (The wildcats) will take place on Tuesday, November 17, in Douala, Cameroon.
Commenting on the Moroccan squad’s preparations, Halilhodzic said that the training sessions focused on the mental preparation of players along with the technical and physical aspects of the game.
“I want to instill a winning spirit in the players because some of them focus on having fun and become too relaxed. I always ask them to remain determined, which is what modern football requires,” he declared.
Halilhodzic considers the Central African team to have several strengths, including decisiveness in goal-scoring situations and the ability to easily create chances.
“We have thoroughly studied our opponent … but I am confident in my team. We just need to be focused and determined to win,” he said.
At the end of the second round of the 2021 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers, Morocco co-led Group E with Mauritania, with four points each.
Two days ago, Mauritania played and drew (1-1) its third qualifying game against Burundi. This gives Morocco the opportunity to become the leader of Group E if the Atlas Lions can secure a win tonight.
Halilhodzic is well aware of the importance of tonight’s game, as well as next Tuesday’s match in Douala. He described the double confrontation against the Central African Republic as “a crucial moment” in the qualifiers.
“We are almost qualified for the upcoming [African Cup of Nations]. Two wins would greatly help us mentally and would give us more desire to continue our progress,” the coach said.