Safri sets sights on glory

PUBLISHED: 07:45 16 June 2007 | UPDATED: 10:20 14 September 2010

Norwich midfield dynamo Youssef Safri is targeting glory for club and country on the eve of Morocco's crunch African Nations Cup qualifier today against Malawi.

Norwich midfield dynamo Youssef Safri is targeting glory for club and country on the eve of Morocco's crunch African Nations Cup qualifier today against Malawi.

Safri is back in the Atlas Lions squad after missing City's final five Championship matches and his country's group 12 win over Zimbabwe earlier this month with a niggling hamstring problem.

Morocco need a point to qualify for the finals in Ghana next January - the first of two key aims on Safri's wish list ahead of the new campaign.

“I want to help my country qualify for the African Nations Cup and get Norwich promotion,” said the former Coventry man, speaking from Malawi ahead of the make-or-break tie. “The Championship will be really tough again and it's a very hard league to get out of. I think we have the players here already and the manager I'm sure will look to bring in some new faces so we can push for the play offs. I'm 100% confident in the players and the staff. With our great support we can compete with the teams who will come down from the Premiership.”

City's medical staff advised Safri to delay his return from the hamstring problem picked up in City's April home defeat against West Brom - a decision fully supported by the Moroccan.

“It was important to me to be ready for pre-season and not take any risks,” he said, after watching his countrymen topple Zimbabwe two weeks ago. “I was so frustrated not to play towards the end of the season for Norwich but there was no point being silly by trying to play in the Zimbabwe game. I felt like I was starting to build up a good partnership with Dickson (Etuhu) as well. We did okay in most of our games which is why it was a shame not to finish the season. Everything is fine now. I've trained well, I'm fully fit and I think being involved in training and hopefully this match will help me come back stronger for pre-season.”

Safri is desperate to feature for his country after a disappointing early exit in Egypt two years ago. The Moroccans failed to escape the group of death after being draw against the hosts and eventual winners plus star-studded runners-up Ivory Coast.

“We want to go back because we didn't do well in Egypt,” he said. “That is why we have worked so hard. We just need a point and hopefully we can manage to do that although we will be looking for the win. The boys have trained well and we are confident. The manager hasn't announced the line up yet but we are totally focussed. Our concentration is just on getting to the finals and making our people proud.”

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