The Royal Moroccan Football Federation President Fouzi Lekjaa has stated Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech will return to the 2022 World Cup-bound national team.
Lekjaa’s statement means he has paved the way for the 29-year-old forward - who retired from the national team at the age of 28 after falling out with head coach Vahid Halilhodzic previously - to make a comeback.
"Hakim Ziyech will return to the Moroccan team, for the World Cup," Lekjaa told a Moroccan radio station as was quoted by Alaraby.
Recently, when Halilhodzic named his squad to take on South Africa and Liberia in their Africa Cup of Nations qualification in May, he welcomed back Noussair Mazraoui – who last featured for the Atlas Lions in November 2020 - and Amine Harit, as well as Adel Taarabt, who had also fallen out with him, but overlooked Ziyech.
The friction between Ziyech and Halilhodzic came to light when the Bosnian coach then claimed the star did not want to play because he allegedly feigned an injury.
When the coach shall name his final squad to fly to Qatar – where they will face Belgium, Croatia, and Canada in Group F matches - fans will be keen to see whether the Chelsea forward will be featured following Lekjaa’s backing.
Meanwhile, the Federation’s top official also affirmed that the Atlas Lions are ready to make a good representation in the global competition in the Middle East.
"The Moroccan team will honour the Moroccans, as it has good players with a great technical level," the president added.
"The Moroccan team is able to match the rhythm of major international teams, and the level with which the Moroccan U18 team appeared against Spain, France, and Italy in the Mediterranean Games is the best evidence of Morocco's ability to compete."
The North Africans are expected to feature in a number of friendly games during the September Fifa international break as they have no Afcon qualifying commitments just like the other African World Cup-bound teams.
They were scheduled to face Zimbabwe, but the Cosafa nation is under suspension by Fifa and thus were removed from the Afcon roster.