To not miss any African news, subscribe to the newsletter of the World Africa from this link. Every Saturday at 6 a.m., find a week of news and debates covered by the editorial staff of the World Africa.
The misfortunes of “Coach Vahid” continue. Although he qualified the Moroccan national team for the World Cup in Qatar, Franco-Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic was fired on Thursday (August 11th). This is the third time in his career that the coach has suffered this kind of snub, after Côte d’Ivoire and Japan.
In a press release, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) mentioned a separation ” amicably “ Due to “divergence of points of view (…) about the appropriate preparation of the Atlas Lions” for the World Cup in Qatar in three months. Vahid Halilhodzic, who succeeded Frenchman Hervé Renard in August 2019, was under contract until 2024, and received a monthly salary of 80,000 euros, excluding bonuses and benefits.
The now ex-coach of the Atlas Lions pays, in part, for the delicate management of certain internationals much appreciated by the Moroccan public, including defender Noussair Mazraoui, recently transferred from Ajax Amsterdam to Bayern Munich, and midfielder attacking Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea, England).
The first, dismissed from the national team for disciplinary reasons since June 2021, had met Vahid Halilhodzic in Amsterdam in May and the technician had called him back for the international matches in June. The second, also cold with the coach for more than a year, had several times refused to return to play for the Atlas Lions, as long as they were led by the Franco-Bosnian.
The two players had thus not wanted to participate in the two qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup against the Democratic Republic of Congo in March (1-1, 4-1), when they had been pre-selected.
The manager’s departure had been under discussion for several months, although he did a good job at the head of the selection. Since his arrival in August 2019, Halilhodzic has rejuvenated the executives, with brothers Ryan and Samy Mmaee, Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah or Azzedine Ounahi, and qualified his team for Qatar. But at the African Cup of Nations (CAN), at the start of the year, the elimination in the quarter-finals against Egypt (2-1 ap) went badly.
“This poor performance is also one of the reasons for the federation’s decision to separate from him. It’s not just Ziyech’s case. The very complicated relations between Halilhodzic and the Moroccan press, his management and his functioning, which may displease some people, undoubtedly weighed in Lekjaa’s choice to part with him, even if the president has always defended him.explains an internal source of the instance.
The name of his successor should be known within a week, according to information from the World Africa. The favorite is the Moroccan Walid Regargui (46 years old, 45 caps), who won the African Champions League and the national championship in 2021-2022 with Wydad Casablanca, before resigning in July, less than a year. after his appointment.
Once again, the former coach of Lille and Paris-Saint-Germain must go in the middle of the ford, very close to a World Cup. A frustration that he has already experienced both at the head of the Ivorian and Japanese selection. For the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he had qualified the Elephants of Didier Drogba, but had been dismissed a few months before the competition, paying the elimination in the quarter-finals of the CAN against Algeria (3-2 ap ).
“I was treated like shit”
“It wasn’t disrespect, it’s much worse than that, it’s really disgusting, I experienced it very badly”Vahid Halilhodzic told AFP before the 2012 edition of the CAN. “I was sent a fax, I was not even received by the president, not even by the secretary to explain myself. Then I was told: “You didn’t win the CAN, it’s over”, with cruel words, without any class”he continued. Eight years after this dismissal, he qualifies the Japanese team but is again dismissed, just over two months before the World Cup in Russia. “I was treated like shit, I was thrown in the trash”choked the coach. “The method used to dismiss me is a total disrespect for everything I have given to Japanese football. » His hard management, his brittle tone had offended some “Blue Samurai” too much and ended up getting tired.
Halilhodzic is a victim of his reputation and his intransigence. “We always highlight my character, discipline, especially in the media, we never talk about me as a technician, as a tactician, yet I am strong on tactical choices. (…) It may be my fault, I don’t always know how to use communication, I don’t know how to make a jargon, he concluded. But qualifying four teams for the World Cup isn’t just about discipline. »
Finally, at 69, the coach will only have led a World Cup at the head of a selection: it was in 2014 with Algeria. A great adventure that ended in the round of 16 with a great match against Germany (2-1 ap), future world champion. Vahid had ended in tears, this time it had been unanimous.