Soccer

Ex-Japan boss Vahid Halilhodzic named Morocco's new coach

AFP-JIJI

Former Japan boss Vahid Halilhodzic was named as the new coach of Morocco on Thursday, his third job with an African nation.

The 67-year-old succeeds Herve Renard, who quit after the Africa Cup of Nations and has since taken over at Saudi Arabia.

“To reach the World Cup finals in 2022 is my main objective,” said Halilodzic, who was recently the coach of French club Nantes.

“It’s the fourth time that I will try to take a team to a World Cup.”

Halilhodzic, who left Nantes on Aug. 2 by mutual agreement, has also coached Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria — which he took to the second round of the World Cup in 2014 for the first time in the country’s history.

He was in charge of Japan from 2015 until 2018 but was dismissed just two months before the World Cup finals in Russia. The veteran coach has already made his mark in Morocco in lifting the African Champions League back in 1997 with Raja Casablanca.

Morocco is looking to its new mentor to help it bounce back from last month’s surprise last 16 loss on penalties to Benin at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Media reports in Morocco said Halilhodzic got the nod despite alleged contact with former France boss Laurent Blanc.

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