Renard said that Ziyech is a very talented player with good behavior and admitted having made a mistake against Ziyech.
Rabat – Morocco’s national football team manager Herve Renard has opened up about the differences he had with star player Hakim Ziyech in his very first weeks as the Atlas Lions’ head coach.
Speaking about his decision in March 2016 not to include Ziyech in his starting lineup but to make him a substitute, Renard argued that they were playing a difficult away game against Cape Verde during the Africa Cup of Nations qualification stage, and he had selected only 18 players.
“It was a match typically African that I know its features and I put Hakim Ziyech in the bench because there were only 18 players,” Renard told the RMC Sports television channel.
In the home match in Morocco, Renard played Ziyech for only 25 minutes.
“He was certainly unhappy. And here I think I made a mistake in that I did not talk to him,” admitted Renard.
He added that after the group stage the situation became tense.
“Ziyech came back injured and it gets to the point that I do not select him anymore. But I can say today that [the behavior of] Hakim has nothing to do with [me not picking him],” he explained.
He further explained that Ziyech has always had good behavior and never reacted badly.
“On the contrary, he remained silent, of course, unsatisfied with his situation, but he remained excellent, and I didn’t talk with him much,” added Renard.
A 3-minute heart-to-heart works wonders
Ziyech declared in April 2017 that he would never return to the Moroccan squad as long as Renard was the head coach.
A year after the Cape Verde game, Renard said that Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) President Fouzi Lekjaa told him he should visit Amsterdam to meet Ziyech and that he had been having a good season.
“On the player’s quality, there is nothing to say. He is a very talented player, and he is what we need,” Renard told Lekjaa.
In 2017, after speaking to Ziyech for three minutes, the coach stated that everything had been settled.
“He wanted to come back because he is so attached to his national team, and I needed him, and I recognized my mistakes. And these mistakes, I’m responsible for them for 99%, and now the problem is more than resolved,” concluded Renard.
Ziyech played with the Atlas Lions during their three World Cup games in 2018 and will play in the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) that will kick start on June 21 in Egypt.