Aboukhlal appeared on the list of players to participate in two upcoming matches, on November 13 and 17, as part of the 2021 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
Rabat – The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has allowed Moroccan-Dutch football player Zakaria Aboukhlal to play for Morocco’s national team.
The Moroccan Royal Football Federation (FRMF) announced the news on Monday after receiving a correspondence from FIFA. It followed a request from the Moroccan federation regarding the participation of Aboukhlal on team A, rather than for the Netherlands’ national team, as part of the application for the player’s change of “sporting nationality.”
Zakaria Aboukhlal played for the Libyan national football team under the age of 17, and the Dutch under-20 team, before deciding to play for the Atlas Lions.
Aboukhlal appeared on the list that Morocco’s coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, issued on November 5, as the Atlas Lions prepare for an upcoming double confrontation against the Central African Republic.
The two national teams will play each other on November 13 and 17.
Morocco is currently leading Group E of the 2021 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers with four points, while the Central African Republic is third with three points. If the national squad wins the two upcoming games, it will guarantee its spot in the African Cup of Nations.
Forward of Dutch team AZ Alkmaar, the 20-year-old Moroccan’s case brings to mind that of Munir El Haddadi, whose appeal to play for Morocco the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected.
El Haddadi requested to play for Morocco after representing Spain once in 2014, which prevented him from playing for the Atlas Lions under FIFA eligibility rules.
The cases of Munir El Haddadi and Zakaria Aboukhlal, among others, led FIFA to reconsider its rules regarding the sporting nationality of footballers.
The 70th FIFA congress saw a vote on whether to allow footballers to join one national team after playing for another.
The session resulted in the approval of footballers’ request under a set of conditions, including that they played with the first national team under the age of 21.
Requirements also stipulate that the player needs to hold the nationality of the team he wishes to play for, and that a minimum of three years separate his last participation with the first team and his first match with the national team he wishes to represent.
Another important rule is that the player should not have played at the “A” international level with the first national team in the World Cup.