Thursday 02 September 2021
The Bosnian coach of the Moroccan national football team, Vahid Halilhodzic, said that he excluded Hakim Ziyech, the team player and Chelsea winger, because of his unacceptable behavior in the team camp last June.
Ziyech was excluded from the Moroccan national team’s squad for the matches against Sudan, today, Thursday, and Guinea, next Monday, in the African qualifiers for the World Cup.
Ziyech, 28, participated as a substitute in the match that his country won in a friendly match against Ghana with a score of 1 / zero, three months ago, before participating as a starter in the next match against Burkina Faso, which ended with the same result.
Halilhodzic explained that he excluded the former Ajax player from the Moroccan national team squad, because of the behavior he showed the last time he was called up to the national team.
Halilhodzic said: “His behavior in the last two matches, especially in the last match, was not the behavior that a player in the national team should behave, who is supposed to set an example for others.”
He added: “He arrived at the camp late, refused to train, and there was no point in discussing that matter. As a coach, the matter was clearly visible, and the national team is more important than anything and no one can hold him hostage.”
Halilhodzic added that Ziyech refused to play against Ghana, claiming that he was not fully prepared, and that he refused to leave the bench.
He added, “For the first time in my coaching career, I see such disappointing behavior, a player who refuses to play a match, even if it is a friendly match, due to injury.”
The Bosnian coach explained: “The medical staff conducted many tests and confirmed that he could play, but he refused to enter the warm-up operations in the second half because he was refusing to play as a substitute. For me, these behaviors are unacceptable.”
“With the national team, you cannot manipulate, either you are 100 percent present or not,” he said.
Hervé Renard, the former coach of the Moroccan national team, had excluded Ziyech from the squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ziyech had confirmed that he would not play for the Moroccan national team under the leadership of Renard, but he returned in September 2017 to participate for the first time in nearly a year.