Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech has failed to make Morocco’s 23-man squad to take on the Continent come next month in Cameroon.
The 28-year-old had missed all six of his country’s World Cup qualifiers this year, and hasn’t played for the Atlas Lions since a friendly against Burkina Faso in July.
The Moroccan side will be led by Wolverhampton Wanderers centre half Romain Saiss who is the captain of the side and other stars such as PSG’s Achraf Hakimi, Watford’s pair of Adam Masina and Imran Louza, and Sevilla’s pair of Munir El Haddadi and Youssef En-Nesyri.
Vahid Halihodzic’s side have been placed in Grouo C alongside Ghana, Comoros and Gabon for the tournament.
However, the news about Ziyech’s ouster from the squad won’t be greeted by much surprise as the player had fallen out with manager Vahid Halihodzic at some point this year.
Back in June, Halihodzic made comments about the former Ajax star’s behavior as ‘not that of a national team player who, as a leader in the team, must be a positive role model.’
“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, must be a positive role model.
He arrived late and after that, he even refused to work. There was no point in discussing it afterwards, as a coach the answer is right there to see.
For me, the national team is above everything, nobody can hold it hostage.
A player who refuses to play a game, admittedly a friendly, on the pretext that he is injured. The medical staff made several examinations and said he could play.He then refused to warm up in the second half because he was disappointed to be a substitute.Vahid Halihodzic about Ziyech in June
For me, that type of behaviour is unacceptable. You can’t cheat with the national team. You are 100 per cent there or you are not. I won’t tolerate it.”
Having been capped 41 times for his country, Hakim Ziyech has within that time banged in 17 goals.
Morocco will no doubts be going guns blazing to Cameroon seeking to lift a trophh that has eluded them since 1976. Their best result ever since had been a runners-up performance in 2004.
Morocco squad for Afcon 2021
Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla, Spain), Monir El Kajoui, (Hatayspor, Turkey), Anas Zniti (Raja Casablanca, Morocco).
Defenders: Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain, France), Sofiane Alakouch (Metz, France), Souffian El Karouani (NEC Nijmegen, Netherlands), Adam Masina (Watford, England), Sofian Chakla (OH Leuven, Belgium), Samy Mmaee (Ferencvaros, Hungary), Romain Saiss (Wolves, England), Nayef Aguerd (Rennes, France).
Midfielders: Aymen Barkok (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina, Italy), Faycal Fajr (Sivaspor, Turkey), Azzedine Ounahi (Angers, France), Ilias Chair (QPR, England), Imran Louza (Watford, England), Selim Amallah (Standard Liege, Belgium).
Forwards: Munir El Haddadi (Sevilla, Spain), Zakaria Aboukhlal (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Barcelona, Spain), Sofiane Boufal (Angers, France), Ryan Mmaee (Ferencvaros, Hungary), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla, Spain), Ayoub El Kaabi (Hatayspor, Turkey).