Fujairah: Morocco coach Abdullah Al Edrissi was upbeat despite his side’s 2-1 second round defeat to the Ivory Coast here on Tuesday.
Junior Ahissan scored the winner with 15 minutes to go after Morocco’s Younus Bnou Marzouk had cancelled out Franck Kessie’s fourth-minute penalty with a goal on the hour mark.
Al Edrissi said: “Our opponents were quicker, physically stronger and better in the challenge. That’s how they gained the upper hand and were able to control the game.
“A lot of good teams were eliminated in this round and we played well, so there’s no reason to be downhearted. This group of players are the future of Moroccan football so we need to make sure we support the boys well and take good care of their development.”
Morocco captain Nabil Jaadi added: “I still can’t believe it. It hurts a lot, though I know that we’ll soon be able to appreciate everything that we’ve learned here, which will help us to be better players and people in the future.
“We’re not used to matches like this, with a big crowd in the stadium and knowing that the game’s being televised live everywhere. This tournament has helped us handle that pressure and learn to play in situations like this.
“This has shown us that we’re strong and competitive. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but we’ve had some great performances and we’ve got stronger as a group. We’re already thinking about the next step, which is to play in another World Cup, this time with the Under-20s.”
The Ivory Coast next play Argentina in the quarter-finals in Sharjah from 5pm on Saturday.