Bosnian Frenchman Vahid Halilhodzic has been appointed coach of the Moroccan Football Federation (FFM) on Thursday, replacing Herve Renard, who recently resigned as Saudi coach.
"Mr. Halilhodzic has knowledge of African football after coaching Algeria and Ivory Coast," FAF president Fawzi Lagja said at a press conference at the federation's headquarters alongside the new coach.
Halilhodzic, 67, reached an agreement earlier this month with Valdemar Keita, owner of Nantes, the 12th place in the French league last season, to leave his position after only one season at the head of his technical department, in preparation for taking over the Moroccan national team.
Halilhodzic said that his first goal for Morocco was to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. "This is the fourth time I have tried to lead a team to the World Cup. For me, this is my first goal," he said.
"Leading a national team is a challenge, an honor and a great responsibility."
|Morocco's match with Benin brought the Atlas Lions out of the African Nations and caused the departure of Renard (European)|
The coach said his return to Morocco was also a "return to the roots," noting that he had "not forgotten" the year he had won, where he had won.
He coached in Morocco when he led Raja Casablanca (1997-1998) to the 1997 African Champions League title.
The new coach of Morocco has training experience in the north of the continent as he supervised the coaching of the Algerian national team from 2011 to 2014 and led him to a historic achievement by reaching the price of the World Cup final for the first time in its history, in Brazil 2014 before coming out with difficulty and extension by Germany, which was crowned later .
He also oversaw Ivory Coast (2008-2010) and Japan (2015-2018), as well as Lille, Rennes, Paris Saint-Germain, Al Ittihad, Saudi Dinamo Zagreb and Trabzon Sport.
On 21 July, Renard wrapped up a "long and beautiful" season with Morocco for more than three years, stressing that he made his decision before the team's disappointing participation in the African Nations Cup, where he was eliminated from the final round.
Morocco were surprisingly eliminated from the tournament, which was one of the favorites to win the title, especially after finishing the group stage with a full mark and clean nets at the top of their group. However, the Atlas Lions lost in the final to the humble Benin team on penalties 1-4, after a 1-1 draw in the original and extra time.