On August 11, 2022, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) announced the separation with Vahid Halilhodzic. The Bosnian had led the national team in the World Cup, before the reins were entrusted to Walid Regragui whose performance alongside the Atlas Lions made history.
Thus, the Federation thanked Vahid for his work accomplished during his mission, but underlined that their divorce was due to differences of opinion concerning the appropriate preparation of the Atlas Lions for the final phase of the 22nd edition of the CdM Qatar 2022. Vahid, meanwhile, wished the national eleven every success for the rest of the operations.
However, coach Vahid still does not seem to have digested this decision, especially since this is the third time he has been fired from his post after qualifying for the World Cup (Ivory Coast in 2010 , Japan in 2018).
In an interview with the Bosnian media N1Vahid Halilhodzic spoke about the reasons he believes led to his dismissal from his position as Atlas Lions coach, as well as the consequences of this decision for his career.
According to Halilhodzic, FRMF leaders sought to influence his selection of players for the World Cup. They notably insisted that Hakim Ziyech, one of the most talented players in the selection, be included in the team despite the “disciplinary problems” he had caused. Halilhodzic resisted this pressure and eventually decided not to include Ziyech in the squad.
” I didn’t want to accept that the leaders of the football federations tell me 15 days before the (World) Cup which players will play and which will not,” Halilhodzic explained. “I couldn’t accept someone else making the decision for me. It was up to me and my team to decide who would play and who would not. “, he launched before tackling “anything that moves”.
In this regard, he asserts that some wanted to be the only ones to decide (…) but they could not influence me. I’ve always been of the opinion that it was up to me with my team, because we made the success and I was against someone else making the decision.“, underlined the former technician of FC Nantes. He was clearly not afraid of backlash and added that to be a coach you also have to play politics.
The departure of Vahid from the Moroccan selection caused him a “trauma”, which he did not hide from the media. ” It’s a cycle that lasts four years, but someone takes that away from you (…) No coach has managed to take four teams to the World Cup and miss it three times. It is a difficult trauma to swallow and accept. Even as a player, I experienced the same thing. I wanted to become the top scorer in the World Cup, to have real affirmation, but that never happened”.
“So I have traumas that hurt me, but life goes on. For now, I am in good health, but everything that has happened in my life and in my career has probably affected my health”he adds, noting that some Moroccan players tried to contact him, but he decided to distance himself from Morocco.