Afcon qualifiers: Blow for Morocco as Inter Milan block Hakimi due to coronavirus fears

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Morocco will be without full-back Achraf Hakimi for their final two Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures after he was included in Vahid Halilhodzic's 24-man squad on Wednesday.

Inter Milan announced moments later that none of their players will be honouring national team invitations this month after Stefan de Vrij and Matias Vecino tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hakimi was expected to be in the eight-man defence selected by Halilhodzic and also reunite with Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, Olympiacos' Youssef El-Arabi and Sevilla's Youssef En-Nesyri when they face Mauritania on March 26 and Burundi four days later.

The restriction comes less than 24 hours after French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs banned their players from travelling out of Europe during the forthcoming international break.

Hakimi has played a key part in helping Morocco cruise to the top of Group E having picked up 10 points from four unbeaten games.

The 22-year-old also has two goals to his name in the qualifying stage which came in their 3-0 thumping of Burundi in November 2019 and their 4-1 hammering of Central African Republic last November.

“FC Internazionale Milano have announced that Stefan de Vrij and Matias Vecino have tested positive for Covid-19 following tests that were taken yesterday. The two Nerazzurri are both already in quarantine in their homes,” the club statement read.

“Having been informed of the new positive cases, the ATS of Milan has decided on the following actions:

“Immediate suspension of any type of team activity for four days, including Sunday 21 March; Inter vs. Sassuolo, scheduled for Saturday 20 March 2021, is to be postponed; Players are prohibited from fulfilling any call-ups to their respective national teams.

“On Monday 22 March, the whole team will be re-swabbed and tested before the eventual resumption of activities.”

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In the Serie A, the Morocco international has contributed six goals and four assists in helping Inter Milan climb to the summit of the league table.

With four players in isolation, Inter Milan's Serie A game against Sassuolo which was initially fixed for Saturday has been postponed to a later date.

Antonio Conte’s side has 65 points from 27 matches and they hold a nine-point lead above city rivals AC Milan.