Morocco and Halilhodzic part ways by mutual consent

Vahid HalilhodzicGetty Images

Morocco and Vahid Halilhodzic have parted ways by mutual consent with less than three months to the commencement of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, the Moroccan Football Association has announced.

According to the country’s football body, the decision was taken due to differences between the two parties. 

Halilhodzic was named as the handler of the Atlas Lions in 2019 following the departure of Herve Renard - who managed the country between 2016 and 2019.

Prior to his exit, the Bosnian tactician qualified the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations champions for their sixth appearance at the global football showpiece. 

"Given the differences and divergent visions between the Royal Moroccan Football Federation and coach Vahid Halilhodzic, the best way to prepare the national football team for the Qatar 2022 World Cup was that the two parties decided to separate by mutual consent,” a statement from the Moroccan FA website read.

"In this regard, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation extends its heartfelt thanks to the coach, Mr. Vahid Halilhodzic, for the period in which he supervised the leadership of the national team, foremost for qualifying for the 2022 World Cup with a promising young team full of great future ambitions.

"The Royal Moroccan Football Federation affirms that it will provide all the means and capabilities to prepare the national team well in the horizon of its participation in the Qatar 2022 World Cup."

Halilhodzic’s dismissal would prove a big relief for Hakim Ziyech - who could return to international football after announcing his retirement following a dispute with the 69-year-old.

The former Japan and Cote d’Ivoire coach left the Chelsea star out of a squad in September 2021, claiming that the player had arrived late and then "refused to work".

Ziyech was later left out of the North Africans’ squad for Afcon 2021 and Halilhodzic subsequently doubled down on his decision to omit the player, saying: "I don't select a player who can unbalance the group. Not even if his name is Lionel Messi."

The Moroccan Football Association is expected to announce a replacement in the coming days.

Morocco have been zoned in Group F alongside Croatia, Belgium and Canada at the World Cup finals.

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