Home / Sport / Ex-Morocco boss Renard apologies for omitting Ajax star Ziyech in African select XI

Ex-Morocco boss Renard apologies for omitting Ajax star Ziyech in African select XI

The Afcon-winning coach named a list of the best African players he’s managed in his career

Former Morocco coach Herve Renard has apologised for leaving out the name of Hakim Ziyech in a select XI of the best African players he has managed.

The 51-year-old Frenchman has coached four African sides to date – Angola, Zambia, the Ivory Coast and Morocco. 

He found success leading the Chipolopolo and the Elephants to Africa Cup of Nations success in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

He also led the Atlas Lions to their first World Cup outing in 20 years at the 2018 edition in Russia where they finished last in a group containing Spain, Portugal and Iran.

Renard’s XI contained Ghana‘s Richard Kingson in goal, Medhi Benatia, Kolo Toure, Jonathan Mensah and Achraf Hakimi in defence.

In midfield is Yaya Toure and Michael Essien in a double pivot, while it’s an attacking trio of Siaka Tiene, Sulley Muntari and Andre Ayew with Asamoah Gyan being the lone striker up front.

Jordan Ayew, Gervinho and Younes Belhanda make up the bench.

“My apologies for the mistake in the team that you may have seen, for me Hakim Ziyech is one of the best, it would be disrespectful to football to not include him in the team, he is an incredible player with a lot of talent. I wish him all the best and he knows it,” Renard – who now coaches Saudi Arabia – said in response to a Twitter post.

Ziyech made his debut for Morocco in a 1-0 defeat to Ivory Coast on October 9, 2015.

His first goal came under Renard’s watch, netting in a 2-0 home win over Sao Tome and Principe in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The 26-year-old has scored 14 goals and earned 32 caps for the Atlas Lions and has participated at the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Afcon in Egypt, where Morocco reached the Round of 16 but suffered an embarrassing penalty shootout loss to minnows Benin Republic.

Ziyech is present with Ajax Amsterdam, where he has been since 2016 and has scored 48 goals and provided 82 assists in 165 competitive appearances.

He will, however, be leaving the Johan Cruyff Arena in the summer after a transfer agreement in the region of €40 million was reached between Ajax and Chelsea.

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