October 1, 2022

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For a third time, World Cup jinx haunts Morocco's sacked coach

For a third time, World Cup jinx haunts Morocco’s sacked coach

For the third time in his career, Bosnian-French coach Vahid Halilhodzic has been sacked from his post just months before the start of the World Cup after leading the team he oversaw to victory in the finals.

Three months before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Moroccan Football Association announced on Thursday the “mutual consent” clause from “Atlas Lions” coach Halilhotsik.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation said in a statement that the decision was taken after differences and differing views on the best way to prepare the national football team for the World Cup finals.

The statement did not specify the identity of the coach who will succeed Halilhotsik, stressing that the federation will “provide all means and capabilities to prepare the national team well for the horizon of participation in the World Cup finals”.

He “thanked coach Vahid Halilhotzig for the leadership of the national team during his tenure, the first of which was qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup with a promising young team full of great future ambitions.”

Kalilodjic previously tested the same scenario with Ivory Coast and Japan, who he led to the 2010 and 2018 World Cups respectively, only to be sacked days before the finals began.

“(My sacking) was not only disrespectful, it was more than that. I fully accept it,” the coach said of being sacked from Ivory Coast training months before the start of the 2010 World Cup, in an interview with Agence France-Presse before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

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“They (Ivory Coast) sent me a fax and I didn’t even meet the president of the federation or the general secretary. All they said to me was ‘You didn’t win the Africa Cup of Nations, it’s over. Bad words and no dignity.

Eight years later, he met the same fate, this time when he was sacked as coach of the Japanese national team two months before the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

He said, “They trashed me. The way I was fired shows complete disrespect for what I have given to Japanese football.”

Today, the Moroccan federation terminated its contract with him, but “by mutual consent”, according to the first published statement.

The Bosnian was able to maintain his position after qualifying for the World Cup only once, in the first-class record of the “Desert Foxes”, when he led Algeria to the final in 2014 and reached the final price with it. Team.

The 69-year-old coach has led Morocco to qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where they will face Belgium, Croatia and Canada, but is embroiled in a dispute with the Moroccan federation after he refused to invite Chelsea. Winger Hakim Jiech for disciplinary reasons.

There have been conflicting statements on the matter between Faouzi Lekjaa, president of the Moroccan Football Association, and Khaliludjic, with the Bosnian, who was the first to come out to confirm the Chelsea star’s return, responding by sticking to the exclusion decision.

His departure has been the subject of frequent rumors in the local media in recent months, with former Wydad Casablanca coach Walid Recragui citing the possibility of his replacement.

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Halilhotsic, who started his career with Morocco in the summer of 2019, has been criticized by the local media for his tactical choices and the team’s squad, especially after he failed to go far at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon earlier last year, where the team’s trip ended in the quarter-finals in Egypt (1-2 after extra time).

The decisions of the Bosnian coach’s exclusion affected not only Zieg, but also new Bayern Munich full-back Nasir Masroi, but the latter returned to the national team at the end of May to take part in the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. .

Halilhotzig ruled out Masraoui and Ziech for disciplinary reasons in the last matches of the second round of African World Cup qualifiers in Qatar and the decisive round against the Democratic Republic of Congo at the end of March.

The Bosnian said last April that calling up Ziyech and Mazraoui was a “story and done” for him because “a player who refuses to train, refuses to play, suffers injuries, for me is a finished story.”

Ziyech, 29, announced his retirement from international football in early February following a dispute with Halilhodzic, who he accused of disrespecting him, which he said threatened the team’s unity, while Ziyech refused to reconcile with the coach and return to the national team. Team.

Halilhotsic’s exit could open the door for a return to the national team for JI.