Ziyech, 28, was a stunning omission for this latest international break given he is Morocco’s most accomplished footballer at this time having just won the Champions League with Chelsea.
The winger posted a laughing emoji sarcastically on Instagram following his snub and now boss Halihodžić has confirmed a bust-up with his star player.
Hakim Ziyech’s omission from Morocco’s latest squad is down to ‘unacceptable behaviour’
Ziyech posted a bemused ‘laughing emoji’ on his Instagram after he was axed but Morocco boss Vahid Halihodžić has now opened up on exactly why the Chelsea winger was left out
‘His behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who as a leader in the team has to be positive role model,’ Halihodžić said, as per The New Arab.
‘He arrived late and after that he even refused to work. There was no point in discussing it afterwards, as a coach the answer is right there to see.
‘For me, the national team is above everything, nobody can hold it hostage.’
The ‘unacceptable behaviour’ that is referred to is believed to date back to Ziyech’s conduct when called up for friendlies back home in Morocco against Ghana and Burkina Faso in June.
Ziyech is accused of flat out refusing to play against Ghana in the first game because of injury – despite the Moroccan team’s medical staff declaring him fit to play.
He added: ‘For the first time in my coaching career, I have seen behaviour that disappoints me. A player who refuses to play a game, admittedly a friendly, on the pretext that he is injured.
‘The medical staff made several examinations and said he could play. He then refused to warm up in the second half because he was disappointed to be a substitute.
‘For me, that type of behaviour is unacceptable. You can’t cheat with the national team. You are 100% there or you are not.’
This is not Ziyech’s first run-in with a coach of the national team.
The Chelsea winger is Morocco’s most accomplished player but is currently being frozen out
The Chelsea star previously refused to play for his country when Herve Renard left him out of the squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Renard also had concerns and reservations about Ziyech’s attitude and as such froze him out.
Ziyech returned to the Morocco squad after almost 12 months on the sidelines having held a ‘clear the air’ meeting in Amsterdam with Renard.
He returned to the side and was selected to go to the 2018 World Cup in Russia in which Morocco finished bottom of Group B, losing to Iran and Portugal before drawing against Spain.
A Ziyech-less Morocco are currently preparing to face Group I qualifiers against Sudan in Rabat on Thursday and against Guinea next Monday.