Eric Gerets answers for CAN disappointment
By Siham Ali for Magharebia in Skhirat – 28/02/12
As Morocco continues to reel from the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) defeat, coach Eric Gerets voiced optimism for the future of the Atlas Lions.
Speaking to the press on February 25th in Skhirat, the Belgian coach defended his player choices but admitted some failings.
He explained that some players lacked stamina because they had not played enough for their clubs or were on the road back from injury.
He also pointed out that some less experienced players performed better than others who were supposed to have more competitive experience. He went on the mention bad luck as another reason for their early exit from the 2012 CAN, especially in the match against Tunisia.
"In any case, I will be more careful as far as the timings of games go," he said.
He pledged to build a strong team for the future: "It was a bad experience; the players’ morale was low. And I will learn lessons from that as I go on working."
He admitted that many things need to be improved for the future, explaining that the players’ quality on the field is not the only important factor, and that their mental toughness is important as well. He observed that some players lacked that quality during the second half of their match against Gabon.
"We showed two sides to ourselves during that match. What happened during the second half is much harder to take in," he said.
He said that the task of building up the team is not yet over, though added that his record over the 16-month tenure as manager has been satisfactory. Out of 15 matches played, seven were won, four were lost and four were drawn.
Gerets also vowed to be more open with the press, which did not hold back in criticising him after the last defeat. "I am willing to hold conferences every month or every two months so that I can have a neutral and objective relationship with the press."
With regard to his salary, which was the subject of much debate, Gerets revealed that he intends to file a complaint as he claims public discussions of his salary relate to his private life.
The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) unanimously reiterated its confidence in Eric Gerets. It insists that certain criteria for selecting players, such as their competitive experience and whether or not they are regular front-bench players for their clubs, must be applied.
Some fans expressed frustration with Gerets’ performance and questioned his ability to lead the team to success.
Said Omari, a student, said that the Belgian manager is incapable of helping the team achieve its goals. He added that the manager’s salary is excessive and has shocked the public, especially given the team’s bitter failure.
Physical education teacher Chihab Amri commented that Gerets had made a litany of errors during the CAN and should resign.
"The selection of players, their physical condition, the game tactics… [Geret’s] failures are there for all to see," he said. "Would he be capable of making amends in future? After the unfortunate experience of the CAN, that looks doubtful unless he surrounds himself with wise advisers."
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