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Afcon 2021: Morocco coach Halilhodzic to drop players who miss Africa Cup

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European clubs have threatened to block players from honouring their invitation for next year’s continental showpiece in Cameroon

Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic has hinted he could stop inviting Europe-based players for his future selections if they fail to come for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Bosnian tactician said he expects Morocco’s players to fight to represent their country even if their clubs restrict them from travelling.

Earlier this week, the European Club Association wrote to Fifa that they could stop players from playing at Afcon in Cameroon due to the rising cases of the new coronavirus variant and key fixtures around the festive periods.
The former Nantes and Japan coach also expressed his fears over the reports circulating about the postponement of the tournament.

“There is a big question, will it happen or not? For now, it’s a big battle between different lobbying,” Halilhodzic told L’Equipe.

“The players are forced to come to the national team, but all the clubs are doing everything so that the players do not come, some have threatened players, told them that they can lose their place, be transferred.

“Presumably, it will be a big problem to have all the players playing in Europe. For my part, if a player doesn’t come, that suggests he doesn’t have enough of an attachment to the national team.

“I could refuse to call up someone who doesn’t want to come, even if there is a threat from the clubs. That player can say goodbye to the national team.”

Cameroon, on Wednesday, affirmed their readiness to host the continent from January 9 to February 6, 2022 after the country’s Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Mouelle Kombi met with the newly-elected President of the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot), Samuel Eto’o.

Morocco are paired against Comoros, Ghana and Gabon in Group C, and they have their sights set on lifting the Afcon trophy for the first time since 1976.

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