Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech will not be going to the Africa Cup of Nations after being left out of Vahid Halilhodzic’s Morocco squad.
Ziyech has not represented his country since June and has found himself on Halilhodzic’s wrong side ever since he was accused of feigning an injury to avoid playing in a friendly match.
The coach claimed that Ziyech refused to warm up for a friendly against Ghana in June, with the Chelsea man arguing that he was carrying an injury, although the Morocco medical staff had cleared Ziyech beforehand.
He was eventually introduced to the game and started another friendly against Burkina Faso a few days later, but has not been seen in his country’s colours since, with Halilhodzic accusing Ziyech of not being 100% committed to Morocco.
Ziyech has since missed ten matches for his country, and that number is going to rise after he was left out of the AFCON squad.
Things obviously don’t look good for Ziyech’s international future, but as far as Chelsea are concerned, his omission is a blessing.
Chelsea have been short on numbers in attack in recent weeks, with Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz all battling a combination of injuries and Covid-19, and manager Thomas Tuchel has had to get creative with some of his attacking lineups to manage the fitness of his players.
With Ziyech not heading to the AFCON, he will now be available throughout January, a month in which Chelsea are braced for no fewer than six matches in 23 days.
The Blues will be without goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who is certain to be a part of the Senegal squad, but Kepa Arrizabalaga proved in Wednesday’s victory over Brentford that he is ready to step in when needed.