Vahid Halilhodzic, head coach of the Moroccan national team, has today hit out at star man and Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech.
Ziyech left out
Morocco are set to get the country’s latest round of fixtures underway later this evening.
In the first of two World Cup qualifying outings, the North African outfit will play host to Sudan, before making the trip to Guinea next Monday.
The hopes of the Atlas Lions of emerging with a pair of positive results, however, were heavily dented upon the nation’s latest squad being unveiled last month.
This came with long-time star man Hakim Ziyech having been completely omitted by the aforementioned Halilhodzic.
Chelsea wide-man Ziyech has managed just eight minutes of Premier League football this season, after picking up what was initially feared to be a serious shoulder injury during the Blues’ UEFA Super Cup triumph.
Nevertheless, having since recovered, the 28-year-old was expected to be called up for Morocco’s upcoming commitments.
‘Behaviour that disappoints me’
In turn, speaking to the media ahead of his side’s meeting with Sudan tonight, it came as little surprise when Vahid Halilhodzic was drawn on his decision to leave Ziyech at home.
And the former Yugoslav international went on to cite the gifted attacker’s behaviour during his most recent spell with his country as the deciding factor behind his call.
Ahead of a pair of meetings with Ghana and Burkina Faso back in June, Ziyech is accused of arriving late, refusing to work and even feigning an injury, actions labelled as completely ‘unacceptable’ by his national team boss:
‘His behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who as a leader in the team has to be a positive role model.’
‘He arrived late and after that, he even refused to work. There was no point in discussing it afterwards, as a coach the answer is right there to see.’
‘For me, the national team is above everything, nobody can hold it hostage.’
‘For the first time in my coaching career, I have seen behaviour that disappoints me. A player who refuses to play a game, admittedly a friendly, on the pretext that he is injured.’
‘The medical staff made several examinations and said he could play. He then refused to warm up in the second half because he was disappointed to be a substitute. For me, that type of behaviour is unacceptable.’
‘You can’t cheat with the national team. You are 100% there or you are not.’