Niger v Morocco preview
Pride the priority for eliminated duo
Last Updated: January 31, 2012 11:31am
Gerets: In the firing line
Morocco and Niger will be playing to restore some of their battered pride in their final AFCON 2012 clash in Libreville on Tuesday.
The pair, who both lost their opening two games, have been eliminated from the continental showpiece, with Group C winners Gabon and Tunisia progressing to the quarter-finals at their expense.
Morocco boss Eric Gerets hopes he will not lose his job over the first round exit.
"If they (the Moroccan Football Federation) let me do my job I will continue," he said. "If they are not happy with my performance they will let me know.
"For 15 months no one has talked about bad performances or a bad coach so it would be a bit surprising (to be sacked), but in my job it can happen - on Monday you are king, 24 hours later you are not a king.
"As long as I am coach of Morocco I will take my responsibility and continue with my philosophy of making my players improve, I know the team are capable of better."
The Atlas Lions were beaten 3-2 by Gabon and 2-1 by Tunisia. Their opponents were previously edged 2-1 by Tunisia and 2-0 by the tournament co-hosts in their opener.
Niger's William Tonji Ngounou, on target against Tunisia, believes his side can draw lessons from what was their debut showing at the finals.
"One year from now there's another Africa Cup of Nations and I think we'll be ready for the next tournament," he said.
Reflecting on conceding a last-gasp winner to Tunisia, he added: "We were really close and we let it go. It's sad but it's a lesson to learn for the next time. We'll be aware of our mistakes and try to do better."
Morocco will look to Fiorentina hitman Houssine Kharja for inspiration again following his brace against Gabon, while fellow attacker Maazou Moussa Ouwo impressed for Niger in their last outing.
Africa Cup of Nations Group A
Africa Cup of Nations Group B
Africa Cup of Nations Group C
Africa Cup of Nations Group D