Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech has been omitted from the latest Morocco squad due to “unacceptable behaviour“, confirms the country’s head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.
Ziyech has won 41 caps for Morocco since making his international debut in 2015. His last outing came in the 1-0 friendly victory over Burkina Faso in June. The Chelsea winger made an appearance off the bench in a 1-0 win against Ghana four days earlier.
The North African nation claimed a solid 2-0 win at home against Sudan in their first World Cup qualifier on Thursday. They now prepare for an encounter away in Guinea on Monday. However, they will be without their star man Ziyech.
Tension between Hakim Ziyech and Vahid Halilhodzic
Coach Halilhodzic has opened up about he left Ziyech out, revealing that the 28-year-old’s conduct in the last international break fell well short of the required standard.
“His behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who as a leader in the team has to be a positive role model,” he addressed a press conference on Wednesday.
After that, Ziyech arrived late and even went as far as refusing to work with the team. Halilhodzic refrained from addressing the matter as the whole situation was clear. The coach regards the national team highly and puts the team first.
The Morocco boss stated that Ziyech initially feigned an injury to miss playing against Ghana. He then displayed his objection at being named on the substitute bench by refusing to warm up for a second half appearance.
“For the first time in my coaching career, I have seen behaviour that disappoints me,” Halilhodzic added. “A player who refuses to play a game, admittedly a friendly, on the pretext that he is injured“.
Halilhodzic went on to say that several examinations by the medical staff had declared him fully fit. As mentioned earlier, he refused to warm up as he was disappointed being a substitute. The Morocco coach found this behaviour absolutely unacceptable.