Herve Renard hints at Sofiane Boufal’s return for Morocco

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The Southampton loanee was dropped from the Atlas Lions’ squad to the 2018 World Cup but his recent fine form has brought the possibility of a recall

Morocco coach Herve Renard has disclosed that Celta Vigo winger Sofiane Boufal could be invited for this month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Cameroon.

Boufal was one of the notable omissions from the north Africans’ contingent to the 2018 World Cup in Russia with his last international appearance coming up in a friendly against Uzbekistan in March.

The 26-year-old was reportedly dropped from the 23-man squad because of restricted playing time during the second half of the 2017-18 season at Southampton after a dressing room burst-up with manager Mark Hughes.

The situation at St. Mary’s Stadium necessitated his season-long loan move to Celta Vigo. And he has since impressed in LaLiga, scoring two goals with an assist in eight league games for the 10th-placed side.

And Renard, his former boss at Lille, is pleased with his improvement that merits him a recall for their home game against Cameroon on November 11.

“There may be a return. I think because of his performance, Sofiane Boufal deserves to return. I know him better than anyone since I managed him at club level,” Renard told Le 360 Sport .

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“It’s good that he stayed a little out of the national team and I hope he will come back even stronger and with a slightly different mindset.”

On why Boufal was not invited to replace injured Ziyech in their last international outing against Comoros in September, the two-time Africa Cup of Nations winning coach added: “I thought the context was not conducive to his return.

"I did not want him to think I was taking him as a spare wheel. On its intrinsic qualities, Sofiane belongs, by far, to this group of Morocco.”

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