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Morocco World Cup Selection Saga: Team Coach Accused of Taking Bribes, Threatens Legal Action

Nations boasting an embarrassment of football talents is often a source of headache for a coach looking to make a selection from the best at his disposal. Those omitted are disappointed from missing out as is already seen in Morocco in recent days where a disgruntled player levied allegations of bribery towards the Atlas Lions’ French-born coach Renard Herve.

Mohcine Metouali, plying his trade in Qatar Stars’ League with Al Ryyan, this week hugged the headlines, alleging Herve – the man in charge of Morocco’s World Cup campaign – is selecting only players who’d bribed or given him gifts.

Voted the North African country’s best domestic player in the 2007 league term, the 32-year-old’s comments come after he was overlooked by the two-time Africa Cup of Nations winning coach Herve in his preliminary squad.
Mohcine told a Qatari magazine that selection in the national team isn’t done on grounds of merit, insinuating the 49-year-old gaffer only picked players whose agents have close rapport with him or have doled out gifts in exchange to be named in the Atlas Lions setup.

The erstwhile Zambian coach has occupied Morocco’s managerial helm since quitting French Ligue Une outfit Lille in the summer of 2015.
Metouali’s remark has understandably irked the ex-Ivory Coast manager who’s now mulling instituting legal action against the Qatari media establishment that authored the story.
“Sometimes some players, or their representatives, express themselves under the influence of emotion, frustration or even spite, but here, if Mohcine Metouali said the words reported by Qatari magazine ‘AL WATAN’ and taken over by the Moroccan media, they are not only outrageous but also defamatory, and it does not only attack my integrity, but also insinuates that all the players I have selected are corrupt. Let’s not doubt it … Pride cannot excuse everything and my name cannot be dirtied in this way without my reaction, so I reserve the right, after consulting my lawyer, to sue the author of these stories.”
This is the first time the Aix-les-Bains-born is being accused of bias selection out of the ten years he’d spent on the continent coaching different countries and clubs.
Mochine’s reported chastisement of the national team tactician are strongly believed to be borne out of resentment for Renard who’s yet to hand him a call-up since taking over reigns of Atlas Lions coaching seat.

If however, the player’s purported comments are found to be true, it would come as unwanted source distraction to an African side preparing for a return to the World Cup after twenty years with the Moroccan FA likely to investigate.
Morocco is in Group B of the World Cup with Portugal, Spain and Iran.

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