Chelsea winger, Hakim Ziyech, has had to make a big decision about his future with Morocco after being denied a place in the AFCON 2021 call up.
Hakim Ziyech has stated that he will not play for Morocco after being left out of the squad called up for the Africa Cup of Nations. The Chelsea winger was totally absent from the Atlas Lions’ team for the Cameroon tournament after a public disagreement with current boss Valid Halihodzic. Despite collecting 40 caps, he hadn’t played for his country since June 2021.
Morocco advanced to the AFCON semi-finals even without former Ajax midfielder, but were defeated 2-1 by Egypt, who were captained by Mohamed Salah, a former Chelsea and current Liverpool striker. In the wake of the tournament, Ziyech has decided to retire from international duty for the foreseeable future.
He told local media ahead of Chelsea’s FIFA Club World Cup match against Al-Hilal: “He understands them, but he will not return to the national team, and that is his final decision, and he knows how things are going over there.”
Ziyech continued to say that he is focused on what he is doing, which is playing for Chelsea FC. He added that the coach made the decision not to include him in the team, which he respects, but that he will not return to the national team.
While Ziyech’s removal from the tournament squad will likely disappoint him, Chelsea has benefited from his absence. The 28-year-old has scored in each of his last two Premier League games, marking the first time he has done so since his big-money move from Ajax in the summer of 2020.