Coach Vahid Halilhodzic helped Morocco qualify for the Qatar World Cup, but he won’t be on the sidelines during the team’s appearance at the tournament. The 69-year-old Bosnian was sacked by the Moroccan Football Federation on Thursday, just over three months before the start of the Cup.
According to the Federation, the decision to dismiss the coach was taken due to differences between him and the senior management over the way the selection was prepared. No other details or clarifications were provided on the disagreement between the two parties.
Halilhodzic has already been sacked on the eve of two more World Cups. He qualified Ivory Coast in the 2010 qualifiers and Japan in the 2018 edition, but relinquished command before the start of the contests on both occasions. In 2014, in Brazil, he coached Algeria and managed to take his team to the round of 16, a phase in which he was eliminated by the German champions.
With the Bosnian’s departure from Morocco, Chelsea striker Hakim Zyech is expected to be called up again. The player was cut by Halilhodzic from the call-ups after refusing to serve the team in a friendly match. According to the coach, Zyech faked an injury to avoid participating in the game.
The Moroccan team makes its World Cup debut on November 23, in a duel with Croatia, runners-up in 2018, in Russia. The two teams are in Group F, alongside Belgium, third in the Russian edition of the tournament, and Canada, which will return to the Cup after 36 years, for its second participation. The first and only time Canadians competed was in 1986.
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