July 5, 2022

World Cup: Ziyech continues to shun Morocco’s invitation

By Brian Aheebwa

Ahead of the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup playoffs, there was an attempt by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMR) President Fouzi Lekjaa to have Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech involved with the national team again.

However, the 28-year-old has declined the opportunity by reaffirming his February retirement through a Sunday statement.

“I love my country and playing for the Morocco national team has been an honour of my lifetime,” Ziyech reaffirmed in a statement released on Sunday.

“So it is with great sadness that I must announce that although the FRMR President today confirmed that I will be preselected for the team. I will not be returning to play for Morocco.”

“I am sorry to disappoint the fans; this was not an easy decision to make but sadly I feel I have no other choice.”

Ziyech added: “Despite giving my all to the team over the past six years and supporting them my entire life, the leadership continues to release misinformation about me and my commitment to my country.”

“Their actions have made it impossible for me to continue to be part of the team. I learned about the news of the preselection at the same time as everyone else, so I am releasing this statement to ensure that you hear the truth directly from me.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me. I wish the team nothing but the best in the future. My focus as a player is at my club Chelsea FC,” he noted

Ziyech announced his retirement from international duty in early February 2022. The decision came after he was left out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations squad by Head coach Vahid Halihodzic who accused him of refusing to work for the team.

The former Ajax player started playing for the Atlas Lions in 2015 managing 40 appearances where he scored 17 goals.

Meanwhile, Ziyech’s compatriot Noussair Mazraouri who plies his trade in the Netherlands for Ajax has also ruled out a possible return to the national team.

The right-back has not featured for the North Africans since November 2020 and that could be it as far as national duty is concerned.

The 24-year-old got his debut for Morocco in 2018 and has gone on to play 22 times netting only two goals.

Morocco will play against DR Congo and the winner over two legs will be amongst the five teams that will represent Africa at the World’s greatest football showpiece in Qatar in November 2022.

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