Saturday, February 4 2023

Former Moroccan international Walid Regragui has been appointed head coach of the national side just three months before the 2022 World Cup, the football federation announced Wednesday.

The 46-year-old takes over from Franco-Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, who was dismissed on August 11 because of “differences of opinion” over preparations for the global tournament which kicks off in Qatar on November 20.

“We are all behind (Regragui) in his new mission at the head of the national team, and we wish him good luck,” Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) president Fouzi Lekjaa told journalists in Rabat.

Regragui said the Moroccan public were “expecting good results”.

“We want to do great things … and we’ll give our all to make you happy,” he said.

Regragui was born south of Paris and played as a defender for Toulouse, Ajaccio, Dijon and Grenoble as well as chalking up 45 caps with Morocco’s national team.

He was coach of FUS Rabat between 2014-2020 and briefly led Qatari club Al-Duhail.

He then coached Wydad Casablanca for one triumphant season, leading the club to victory against Egypt’s Al-Ahly to win the African Champions League as well as clinching the Moroccan league title.

He quit Wydad earlier this month and has now become the first Moroccan national to lead the Lions of the Atlas since 2016.

Regragui will be seeking to repeat Morocco’s success of 1986, when they became the first African team in history to reach the round of 16.

His predecessor Halilhodzic had become embroiled in a power struggle over his sidelining of two star players, Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui of Bayern Munich, over disciplinary issues.

Regragui’s arrival will likely see their return to the team.

In Qatar, Morocco will face Croatia, Belgium and Canada in Group F.

kao/ezz/par/ea

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