Hakim Ziyech to reconsider returning to national team as Moroccan Federation wants him back in squad

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Hakim Ziyech: Just as it appeared as though the Chelsea star’s international career was coming to an end, the head of Morocco’s football federation (FRMF) has indicated that he may still be invited back into the national team setup.

Hakim Ziyech to reconsider returning to national team as Moroccan Federation wants him back in squad

After a split with coach Vahid Halilhodzic, Chelsea winger Ziyech has not played for the Atlas Lions since June of last year, and the 29-year-old declared his desire to retire from international football in February.

Despite this, Ziyech was included in the FRMF’s preliminary squad for their 2022 World Cup play-off match against DR Congo, in which the North Africans won 5-2 on aggregate to qualify for the championships in Qatar.

During a board meeting this week, FMRF president Fouzi Lekjaa declared, “The doors of the national team are open to all Moroccan players, regardless of their differences.”

“No one can stop a Moroccan player from representing his country, whether it’s Ziyech or anyone else.”

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Halilhodzic, who took over as Morocco coach in August 2019, has remarked that Ziyech “lacks respect” and that his international career is “finished” when speaking during the latest World Cup draw.

However, Lekjaa’s remarks suggest a reconciliation ahead of the World Cup, and he stated that he will share this “personal conviction” with Halilhodzic when the Bosnian returns from vacation later this month.

Halilhodzic has experienced criticism in Morocco for some of his selections, despite bringing the squad to Qatar via an undefeated qualification campaign.

“He [the 69-year-old] is currently the national team’s trainer… but only God knows what the future holds,” Lekjaa remarked.

Hakim Ziyech to reconsider returning to national team as Moroccan Federation wants him back in squad

Morocco will compete in Group F in Qatar against Croatia, Belgium, and Canada.

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Why Did Hakim Ziyech Leave the National Team?

Hakim Ziyech announced his retirement from international football in 2021, and it was confirmed that he would no longer represent Morocco at the age of 28.

Although losing a Champions League-winning winger who has also starred for Ajax and Chelsea was a blow for The Atlas Lions, they have already begun to adjust to his absence.

It is unusual for a footballer to call time on their international career, especially while they are still in their peak years, so why has Ziyech made this decision and what does it mean?

After a quarrel with Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who chastised Ziyech’s attitude and accused him of fake injury, Ziyech departed from international service.

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