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Last Updated: Monday, 16 February, 2004, 10:32 GMT
Zaki praises his young side
Youssef Hadji and Marouane Chammakh
Youssef Hadji and Marouane Chammakh, two of Morocco's bright young stars
Morocco coach Badou Zaki was full of praise for his young side following their 2-1 defeat to Tunisia in the African Cup of Nations final.

Tunisia took the lead early in the match through Francileudo Dos Santos but the youthful Moroccan attack battled back to level matters before the break, thanks to Youssef Mokhtari.

However, shortly after the break Tunisia's Ziad Jaziri scored - a goal that proved enough for victory.

Coach Zaki, a former international goalkeeper for Morocco, said his side had played well.

We are a young side and need more time and encouragement
Morocco coach Badou Zaki

"I want to say well done to my players, they have done well throughout this tournament," he said.

But Zaki admitted his side were the authors of their own downfall.

"We committed too many errors and Tunisia exploited them to score two goals," he added.

"There has to be a winner and a loser and today luck was not on our side.

"Despite that, I still congratulate the players for their efforts from our very first qualifying match against Gabon up until to today's final."

Zaki, whose team finished as top scorers in the tournament with 14 goals, predicted that they would bounce back from this defeat.

"We are proud to have finished second. We are a young side and need more time and encouragement to be able to do better than today," he added.

"I congratulate Tunisia. They put in a great effort but the real winner today is Arab football."

Morocco's assistant coach Abdulghani Naderi also blamed errors for the side's defeat.

"We are a young team and we deserved to play in the final," he said.

"But we made some mistakes and we gifted the trophy to Tunisia."

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