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Ajax Defender Mazraoui Turns Down Netherlands for Morocco

Ajax defender Noussair Mazraoui opts for Morocco over the Netherlands.

Ajax defender Noussair Mazraoui has turned down a chance to put on the Dutch national team colors and will represent Hervé Renard’s Morocco.

The 20-year-old had a meeting last week with Netherlands Coach Ronald Koeman and Nico-Jan Hoogma (the team’s technical director) who tried to convince him that the Dutch national team was a better fit for his development.

“I spoke to him last Thursday afternoon. Nico-Jan Hoogma, Mazraoui, his agent and I had a good talk, the four of us. We have indicated what we want and how we see it for us with him. That in the future he will be a serious option for the right back position,” Coleman confirmed to talk show Studio Voetbal.

However, after consulting with his family, the versatile defender surprisingly opted to play for Morocco and revealed he will accept their call-up for the African Cup of Nations qualifier against Malawi next month.

“Mr. Koeman had an excellent story and presented the plan he had for me. That impressed me and I am really honored that he has done this effort for me.” Mazraoui told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf in an interview.

Like his Ajax teammate and friend Hakim Ziyech, Mazraoui also decided to play for Morocco to respect his parent’s origin.

“I am now looking forward to meeting Hervé Renard, the national coach of Morocco, and the players,” he added.

Mazraoui is a defensive midfielder but can also play as a central defender and right back. He broke into Ajax’s first team as a right back and has been impressive in all their fixtures.

Mazraoui previously represented Morocco at U-19, U-20 and U-21 levels. He was born in Leiderdorp, a municipality in western Netherlands.

Morocco named him on their standby list for the World Cup, but he is yet to make his debut for the African nation.

 (Photo from Getty Images)

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