New Straits Times

Ziyech ‘brilliant and astonishin­gly sloppy’


RABAT: Hakim Ziyech reacted with a fit of pique when he was left out of Morocco’s squad for last year’s African Nations Cup finals and vowed he would never play internatio­nal football again.

Some six months later he was netting key goals for the north Africans as they surged past the more fancied Ivory Coast in their qualifying group to book a place at the World Cup finals in Russia.

It is characteri­stic of the 25year-old, Dutch-born wide player to react tempestuou­sly in adversity but he is also admired for his understate­d manner in celebratin­g his success.

Coach Herve Renard felt he could not assure the mercurial Ajax midfielder of a star ng berth in his line-up for the Nations Cup and preferred not to have such a strong personalit­y brooding on the bench.

But Ziyech’s absence was something Moroccans could illafford in their bid to earn a first World Cup place in 20 years, and Renard travelled to patch up the relationne­xt ship.

Going into month’s World Cup finals, it is Ziyech who could prove the team’s talisman if Morocco can overcome a difficult draw.

“Ziyech is a player whom everyone is always talking about,” wrote the Dutch daily gemeen Dagblad.

“It is because in a single game he can manage to be both absolutely brilliant and astonishdr­ives ingly sloppy.”

His consistent inconsiste­ncy Ajax supporters to distractio­n and they often subject him to a humiliatin­g concert of derisory whistles.

Earlier this month however, they also voted him their player of the season.

Ziyech intends to move on from Ajax after the World Cup and the finals present him with a stage to attract topquality suitors.

“I have little left to achieve in the Netherland­s and I feel I need a new challenge,” he said.

 ??  ?? AlHakim Ziyech
AlHakim Ziyech
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia