Former Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has said he will not forgive nor forget being sacked just before the 2022 World Cup finals.
WHAT HAPPENED? After leading the Atlas Lions to secure a place in the 2021 AFCON Qatar finals, the experienced tactician was relieved of his duties three months before the Mundial.
Faouzi Lekjaa, the Moroccan FA boss, later explained why they had to part ways with the Franco-Bosnian tactician. To Lekjaa, Halilhodzic’s tendency to fall out with key players was the reason that informed their decision to sack the coach.
Halilhodzic had fallen out with Hakim Ziyech, who at one time announced retirement from international football before reversing the decision, as well as Amine Harit, and Noussair Mazraoui.
The former Nantes and Lille manager has now said he will not forgive the North Africans for the sacking.
WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: “You know, I didn’t comment on anything about Morocco at all. Journalists from Morocco, from the region, are calling me… but it’s hard for me to say anything,” Halilhodzic said.
“And these words cannot wash away my bitterness, and cannot make up for what I missed with this tournament.
“They took away my pride, I can’t forget or forgive them. Because it was also supposed to be my farewell to my coaching career. That’s all I can say on the subject.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ziyech and Mazraoui were key players for the Atlas Lions who became the first African and Arab nation to reach the last four in the World Cup.
Meanwhile, this was not the first time Halilhodzic was sacked before the World Cup finals. The Japan Football Association showed him the door two months before the 2018 tournament in Russia.
Ahead of the 2010 finals in South Africa, he was sacked by Ivory Coast and was replaced by Sven Goran Eriksson.
The coach, a 1982 World Cup participant with Yugoslavia, was in charge of Algeria in the 2014 Brazil finals. He led them to the Round of 16, where, despite putting on a strong show, they were eliminated by the eventual champions, Germany in extra time.
WHAT NEXT FOR HALILHODZIC? With his expansive coaching career, eyes will be keen to see which club or nation will next appoint Halilhodzic. Though, he may have hinted this is the end of his career.