Just three months before the Atlas Lion of Morocco plays in the World Cup championships in Qatar, Morocco has fired Vahid Halilhodzic as its football coach.
The Franco-Bosnian coach has now experienced the remarkable accomplishment of being fired three times by national teams after they qualified for the World Cup finals. The Moroccan football federation’s declaration on Thursday, August 11 puts an end to months of rumours regarding his future
Morocco’s lackluster performance at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in January and, in particular, his falling out with star midfielder Hakim Ziyech, led to conjecture about Halilhodzic’s potential resignation.
Halilhodzic, 69, accused the Chelsea player of fabricating an injury to skip mid-year friendlies, which prevented him from participating in the World Cup qualifying process and the Cup of Nations finals.
However, amid a public outcry over his absence, federation president Fouzi Lekjaa has been pushing for the midfielder, who was born in the Netherlands, to return, which has put him at odds with his coach, who was hired to lead Morocco three years ago.
After qualifying them for the most recent World Cup in Russia, Japan fired Halilhodzic, and they cited his abrasive demeanour as the cause. Just two months before the 2018 finals, the Japanese Football Association sacked him, stating “communication” issues and said his players no longer trusted him.
In addition, the Ivory Coast fired Halilhodzic ahead of the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa and replaced him with Sven Goran Eriksson. Halilhodzic represented Yugoslavia at the 1982 World Cup and later enjoyed success as a striker in France. Six months prior to the World Cup, the Ivorians performed poorly at the Cup of Nations finals.
He did accompany Algeria to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when they nearly shocked Germany in the round of 16.
Walid Regragui, a former international for Morocco, is anticipated to be named as the team’s new coach. In May, he guided Wydad Casablanca to victory in the African Champions League.