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Sacked in 2010 by Côte d’Ivoire and in 2018 by Japan when the teams he coached had qualified for the Football World Cup, Vahid Halilhodzic should succeed in retaining his position as coach of the Lions of the Atlas. A maintenance which has not been officially confirmed, but which is all the more surprising since the dismissal of the 69-year-old Bosnian was taken for granted in recent weeks in Morocco. The names of several potential successors – Laurent Blanc, Rudi Garcia, Claude Puel or André Villas-Boas – had notably circulated.
“Coach Vahid”‘s contract with the Cherifian kingdom runs until July 2024. According to several sources, the president of the Moroccan Football Federation, Fouzi Lekjaa, offered him severance pay during their meeting on May 9, at the national technical center of Salé. The Bosnian – who earns more than 100,000 euros per month – would have demanded 4 million euros according to sources close to both parties, a sum too large for the Federation which cannot afford to engage in a legal showdown. -financier with his coach.
Vahid Halilhodzic should therefore go to the end of his mission with, as main deadlines, the final phase of the World Cup in Qatar, where the Atlas Lions will rub shoulders with Belgium, Canada and Croatia. The team will also have their sights set on qualifying for the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire.
But the coach will have a lot to do to extinguish the criticism he has been subjected to since the performance, deemed disappointing, of his players during the African Cup of Nations held in February in Cameroon. Although Morocco lost in the quarter-finals against Egypt (1-2), the fans, like the specialized press, all pointed out that the Moroccan team’s game was not spectacular enough. “You don’t love me and I don’t love you”retorted the coach, on May 12, about journalists, during an interview with the website Koora.
Quarrels with several internationals
For the former captain of the Atlas Lions, Abdeslam Ouaddou (55 selections between 2000 and 2010), the criticisms addressed to the coach are too harsh. “He had to partially rebuild a team because players had stopped their international careers. Morocco doesn’t have as strong a squad as Senegal or Ivory Coast, for example, and that hasn’t stopped them from achieving their goals.”believes the former international.
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