Prime News Ghana

AFCON 2023: Morocco becomes first side to arrive in Cote d'Ivoire

By primenewsghana
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Morocco became the first side, outside the host nation, to arrive in Cote d’Ivoire for the 34th edition of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations when the Atlas Lions landed in Abidjan on Sunday.

The FIFA World Cup semi-finalists landed at Felix Houphouet Boigny Airport in the afternoon amid local traditional drumming and dancing to welcome the side to the host country of the continental showpiece event.

The plane carrying coach Walid Regragui’s side landed in Abidjan at 2:00 PM local time before they were received in Terminal 2 with an impressive cultural ceremony arranged by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON amid tight security.

Atlas Lions striker Youssef En-Nesyri was the first to appear from the aircraft, followed by PSG star, Achraf Hakimi as the delegation was met on arrival by the Ivorian Minister of Transport Amadou Kone.

Mr Kone, who personally supervised the arrival of this first team for the tournament, was accompanied by the ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Côte d’Ivoire His Excellency Abdelmalek Kettani, , some CAF officials and some members of the LOC.

Members of the Moroccan community in Abidjan were also present at the airport to welcome their team that reached the last four of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Atlas Lions, who appeared focused, headed straight to the city of San Pedro where they will be based for their Group F matches against DR Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia.

They will have ten days of acclimatization in the coastal city of San Pedro before their first match on January 17, 2024, against Tanzania at the Laurent Pokou Stadium. Their second outing is scheduled against DR Congo on January 21, followed by their last group game against Zambia on January 24.

As a semi-finalist in the last edition of the World Cup in Qatar, Morocco is seen as one of the favorites for the CAF TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Côte d’Ivoire 2023.

Their only title success in the competition dates back to 1976. 48 years later, the Atlas Lions are dreaming of taking the trophy home.

Meanwhile host nation Cote d’Ivoire arrived in Abidjan on Sunday morning to continue their preparations for the tournament after beating Sierra Leone 5-1 in a warm-up in the city of San Pedro on Saturday.