18 wins, 7 draws, 2 losses, elimination in the quarter-finals of CAN and qualification for the 2022 World Cup. On paper, Vahid Halilhodzic’s record at the head of Morocco is much more than honorable or even good . Arrived in the summer of 2019 to succeed Hervé Renard, the former coach of FC Nantes was able to achieve the main objective set by the Moroccan football federation: to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But in Morocco, not everything is so simple. Despite this, his presence on the bench of the Atlas Lions next November is far from certain. The main reason ? His conflict with Ziyech and Mazraoui.
For more than a year now, the absence of Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui in the selection, for disciplinary problems, has animated the debates and provoked the anger of the supporters who are demanding their return. Even to the point of gently but surely pushing Vahid Halilhodzic towards the exit. Called during the last gathering, the two players declined the summons and refused to wear the Morocco jersey, probably until Vahid Halilhodzic left. Internally, it’s impossible to imagine going to the World Cup without the Ajax and Chelsea player. A final meeting is scheduled in the coming days between the president of the FRMF Faouzi Lekjaa and the two players to try once and for all to ease tensions. In the event of another failure in these negotiations, the leaders of the Moroccan selection will decide to separate from Vahid Halilhodzic. And the latest exchanges go in this direction.
A departure, but not at any price
The entourage of the former PSG coach also believes that the situation has never been so vague and seems more aware than ever that his hours are numbered. The chances of seeing Vahid Halilhodzic stay and see him train Ziyech and Mazraoui again are now minimal. After qualifying, the current Morocco coach also seemed very tired and very affected by the critics when he felt he had done everything to make the Moroccan public proud. Considering that his record at the head of the Atlas Lions is good, he would have no regrets in the event of departure. But in the meantime, he is planning and already preparing for the World Cup. The regrets, they could be on the side of some Moroccan players of the selection who greatly appreciate the personality of the 69-year-old coach. Several of them also made a point of thanking their coach greatly, once the qualification was obtained. Vahid Halilhodzic had notably forged a very strong relationship with Achraf Hakimi and the two men exchanged very regularly. But the Moroccan federation, which also pointed the finger at the game displayed by the team and the heavy climate around the selection, will not part with its coach without the assurance of having better. And it’s not really won, especially since the timing doesn’t help a few months before a World Cup and only 6 matches in the first round.
Internally, we are already looking for a successor to the former coach of Côte d’Ivoire, but the choices are limited since a French-speaking profile is desired as a priority. A first list of names has been drawn up, including Claude Puel, Rudi Garcia and Laurent Blanc. The first two cities would currently favor an adventure with clubs, those who have never led a national team. Laurent Blanc, who has just been fired from his position as coach of Al Rayyan (Qatar), could be interested in this project, just like his former assistant Jean-Louis Gasset who would not be closed to the idea of embarking on a new challenge after a difficult year at Bordeaux last season. The two men had also known this role in the France team (2010-2012). But financially, it will be necessary to agree to great efforts. Finally, the current coach of Wydad, Walid Regragui, is also appreciated internally, especially for his knowledge of African football and his success on the continent (championship leader and impressive in the African Champions League).