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Munir El Haddadi: Morocco hand Sevilla star call-up after Fifa rule change

20:00 SAST 2020/10/01
Munir El Haddadi
Despite previously playing for the European country in a competitive game, the 25-year-old is now in line to feature for the African country

Morocco have taken advantage of the change in Fifa rules to hand a call-up to Munir El Haddadi for their friendlies against Senegal and DR Congo on October 9 and 13 respectively.

The world football governing body made a number of changes to their rules regarding a player switching nationality, following a proposal by the Moroccan Football Federation.  

The previous rule stipulates that players could only change nationality if they had only featured in friendlies and not in a competitive game.

With the new changes, players can now switch nationalities if they have not played in more than three competitive games, which must not include World Cup games and continental matches at senior levels and they must have been below 21 years of age in all the appearances.

El Haddadi was born in Spain to a Moroccan father and represented the European country in a 2016 Euro qualifier against Northern Macedonia.

The new rule will now afford him the opportunity to feature for the North African country, having indicated his willingness to make the switch.

Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic has expressed his role in convincing the forward to leave Spain for the Atlas Lions.

"I have been talking to Munir for the last six months and he has expressed his desire to play for Morocco," Halilhodzic told the media when he announced his squad.

"I have profited from this lockdown period to observe, analyse and know the players I need like Munir and Ayman (Barkook and former German youth player). They are the type of players the national team needs.

"This problem of dual nationality exists in so many countries, where players have to make a choice at an early age.

"What is important is that I shouldn't be the person to make pressure on the player to change his decision.

"They are here because they are attached to their country of origin. It is their decision without any pressure.

"They are Moroccans like all the other Moroccans. They are serious and they want to be here and achieve something for their country."

Morocco’s friendlies this month have been lined up as part of their preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against the Central African Republic, scheduled for November.