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Hakim Ziyech will not be going to next year’s AFCON tournament — report

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Spain v Morocco -World Cup Photo by Peter Lous/Soccrates/Getty Images

Chelsea attacker Hakim Ziyech hasn’t received any international call-ups since his infamous fallout with Moroccan national team head coach Vahid Halilhodzic. That trend is seemingly set to continue into the future, with Ziyech unlikely to be called up for next year’s AFCON tournament, scheduled to be held in Cameroon from 9th January to 6th February.

According to Moroccan outlet Al Ahdath Al Maghribia (via Le360), Halilhodzic decided not to call up Ziyech, with his belief that the Chelsea player will not be able to withstand the high heat and humidity that characterize the climate in Cameroon during this period of the year. Halilhodzic also feels that Ziyech’s physical condition is not up to the requisite standard, since he isn’t a starter at the club-level with Chelsea.

Those claims sound preposterous no matter how many times you read them, so of course Ziyech’s omission has nothing to do with those aforementioned reasons, and everything to do with the differences between the player and the manager. The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) will try to act as a peacemaker, and try to persuade Halilhodzic to reconsider his stance.

From a Chelsea perspective, it won’t be the worst thing if those persuasions fail to lead to any fruitful outcome, with extra depth during a busy period all the more helpful (especially with Chelsea set to lose goalkeeper Édouard Mendy to the tournament anyway, as a Senegalese national team representative).