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Morocco coach Regragui addresses Ziyech controversy and team unity ahead of Congo clash

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At a press conference on Monday, Morocco’s head coach Walid Regragui addressed the recent controversy surrounding Hakim Ziyech, who has been at the center of intense speculation. A rumor suggesting that Ziyech had left the team was quickly denied, but the damage was already done.

The former Chelsea star’s frustrations came to a head last Friday during Morocco’s 2-1 victory over Zambia in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Ziyech opened the scoring with a penalty in the 6th minute but was substituted in the 64th minute for Soufiane Rahimi.

His reaction was telling: visibly agitated, he gestured in frustration and threw his boots after sitting on the bench.

This display sparked a flurry of negative comments on social media.

Regragui, who had tried to defuse the situation in a post-match press conference, addressed it again, revealing that “at the end of the match, Hakim Ziyech apologized to the entire locker room for his bad gesture.”

This act of contrition was seen as a step towards reconciliation within the team.

Regragui firmly dismissed any notions of a disciplinary issue. “There is no disciplinary problem within the national team,” he stated. By standing by the 31-year-old Ziyech,

who has faced increasing criticism for his performances, Regragui has been accused of favoritism.

However, he defended his decision, asserting, “All the players called up deserve it. They all want to win and do everything to do so.”

The coach’s selections and handling of team dynamics will be under close scrutiny as Morocco faces Congo Brazzaville at the Grand Stade d’Agadir on Tuesday, for the 4th round of qualifiers.

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The outcome of this match will be crucial, not only for Morocco’s World Cup aspirations but also for the internal harmony of the squad.

Regragui’s leadership and Ziyech’s response to this controversy will be pivotal as the Atlas Lions aim to continue their quest for World Cup qualification.

The Moroccan team, which reached the semi-finals in the 2022 World Cup, needs to demonstrate unity and resolve in the face of these challenges to maintain their momentum on the road to 2026.

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