Morocco Fires Coach Halilhodžić 3 Months Before World Cup

FILE - Morocco's head coach Vahid Halilhodzic looks on before the start of the African Cup of Nations 2022 group C soccer match between Gabon and Morocco at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Morocco has fired its coach Vahid Halilhodzic this Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, three months ahead of the World Cup. The Moroccan soccer federation cites disagreements on preparing the team for the tournament in Qatar. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)
FILE - Morocco's head coach Vahid Halilhodzic looks on before the start of the African Cup of Nations 2022 group C soccer match between Gabon and Morocco at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Morocco has fired its coach Vahid Halilhodzic this Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, three months ahead of the World Cup. The Moroccan soccer federation cites disagreements on preparing the team for the tournament in Qatar. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — The coach who helped Morocco qualify for the World Cup was fired Thursday, barely three months before the start of the tournament in Qatar.

The Moroccan soccer federation said the decision to fire Vahid Halilhodžić was because of disagreements in preparing the team for the tournament. Morocco is scheduled to play its first match on Nov. 23 against 2018 World Cup finalist Croatia. The team will also play Belgium and Canada in Group F.

Halilhodžić’s exit opens the way for Hakim Ziyech to return to the squad. The Bosnian had cut the Chelsea winger from the squad last year in a dispute over a supposed unwillingness to play in a friendly game.

It’s the third time the 69-year-old Halilhodžić has been fired by a team he helped qualify but could not coach at the World Cup itself. He led Ivory Coast through qualifying for the 2010 tournament and Japan for the 2018 edition but lost his job each time before getting to the final tournament.

At 2014 World Cup, Halilhodžić coached Algeria to the last 16, where the team lost in extra time to eventual champion Germany.

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