Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria/Morocco: Afcon - Morocco Hold Their Heads High

Failure to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations may be viewed as a dismal result, but Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi believes they have reason to be proud.

The Lions of the Atlas recorded their third successive draw on Sunday when they were held 2-2 by South Africa, a result that saw them eliminated from the tournament. It continues a poor run of form in the continent's premier competition, one they haven't won since 1976.

Despite this, Taoussi feels that his young squad - in which the average age is 24 - is heading in the right direction.

"We walk out with honour and dignity after a good game. I am very happy with the team and they played very well and they tried hard to improve," he said.

"For me the balance sheet is positive, we didn't lose a match. I know that the national team will do well because the foundations are there."

Taoussi, who has only been at the helm of the national team for a matter of months, says his team are now looking forward to their upcoming World Cup qualifying games.

Bafana coach proud of players

Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund on the other hand admitted that he felt immense pride following his side's qualification for the quarter-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

The South Africans secured their passage into the next phase of the competition courtesy of a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Morocco and it is the first time since 2002 that they have made it out of the group stage of the tournament.

"We feel very, very proud" said Igesund. "We did what we had to do and achieved our first objective. We can now look forward to our next game and the next 20 hours we're just going to relax."

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