World Cup kick off date officially changes and Morocco is eyeing a new manager after they sacked Vahid Halilhodzic.
FIFA had to make a sudden change of World Cup 2022 date by starting one day earlier than the previous confirmed date in order to accommodate Qatar’s sudden request. Previously, the host did not have any objection of not contesting the match after the opening ceremony on Monday, November 21. The game of Netherlands vs Senegal was initially given a nod to raise the curtain the tournament at 1 pm at local time (10.00 GMT), while Qatar will be meeting Ecuador later at 8 pm (17.00 GMT) on the same day.
Nevertheless, Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, decided to ask the world football governing body to move the kick off on Sunday, Nov 20 so that the host could continue the tradition by playing the opener after his ambition to hold the massive firework show in the opening ceremony. It is a perfect one to mark Qatar’s historic debut in world cup finals. In the new schedule, the match begins at 7 pm (16.00 GMT), whereas the next fixture in group A, Netherlands vs Senegal starts later at 7 pm (16.00 GMT) on November 21. The following games in the other groups remain the same.
Another shocking news came from Morocco as they opted to relieve their boss Vahid Halilhodzic from his post. Morocco football association (FRMF) felt the urge to take action due to the principle difference regarding the world cup preparation with the Bosnian manager. Halilhodzic who was appointed by FRMF in 2019 insisted that he would not call up Chelsea star, Hakim Ziyech and Bayern’s new signing, Noussari Mazraoui, for the world cup squad due to their lack of commitment to the national team. This decision led to Ziyech’s early retirement from international football when he along with Mazroui did not make the cut in AFCON 2022 in January and World Cup playoff in March. FRMF hopes they can change their mind following the dismissal of the former Algeria boss in world cup 2014.
Morocco football governing body has not been officially announced his replacement yet. It is believed that Wydad AC boss, Walid Regragui, is the strongest candidate to take his post for Qatar 2022 later. The 46-year old manager is also the former Morocco international with 45 caps between 2001 and 2009. He once worked for national team too as the assistant of Rachid Taoussi from 2012 to 2013. Regragui who used to play for French side’s Toulouse, Ajaccio and Grenoble, plus Spain’s Racing Santander has won domestic league titles for Fath Union Sport in 2016 and Wydad in 2022 and one top flight league trophy for Qatar’s Al-Duhail in 2020. Last season, he also brought his club to win the most prestigious title in the region, CAF Champions League.