Saturday, January 29, 2022

Chelsea winger Ziyech left out of Morocco´s Africa Cup of Nations squad

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Dec 2021

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Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech has been left out of Morocco’s squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

The 28-year-old has not played for his country since a friendly against Burkina Faso in July due to a reported falling out with head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Ziyech was not included in Morocco’s 25-man group announced on Thursday ahead of the delayed tournament, which is due to run from January 9 until February 6.

That will be considered a boost for Chelsea, who faced being without the former Ajax attacker during a busy period in the season.

The Blues play at least six fixtures in January, including games with Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham.

Ziyech has played 18 times in all competitions this season – the 10th most appearances of any Chelsea player – with 13 of those being starts.

He has been directly involved in seven goals – three goals and four assists – a tally that is bettered by only Jorginho (8), Mason Mount and Reece James (both 11).

Meanwhile, Ziyech’s 0.6 big chances created per 90 minutes is the most of any Chelsea player this term, followed by Ruben Loftus-Cheek (0.56) and Ross Barkley (0.45).

Ajax defender Noussair Mazraoui is another notable omission from the Morocco squad, though the likes of Achraf Hakimi and Youssef En-Nesyri have been included – the latter recently returning from a persistent knee injury that has plagued his 2021-22 season.

Morocco, whose only Africa Cup of Nations success came in 1976, are in Group C along with Ghana, Gabon and Comoros. 

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