Morocco roster: Pair of 'exiled' stars return for USA friendly

Defender Noussir Mazraoui, who this week joined Bayern Munich from Ajax Amsterdam, and Marseille forward Amine Harit  are back with Moroccan national team after settling disputes the team's Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

They've been included in Halilhodzic's squad for a friendly against the USA in Cincinnati on June 1 and African Cup of Nations qualifying games at home vs. South Africa June 9 and Liberia June 13.

The 24-year-old Dutch-born Mazraoui, an Ajax academy product, last played for Morocco in 2020. In November 2021, the right back said his dispute with Halilhodzic stemmed in part from his polite refusal to drink water — because he wasn't thirsty — during a hydration break as demanded by Halilhodzic, then pouring it out on the grass when Halilhodzic persisted.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder Harit, who made name for himself at Schalke 04 before moving to Marseille in his native France, previously played for French youth teams before debuting for Morocco in 2017 under Coach Hervé Renard. Harit last played for Morocco in November 2020, an absence Halilhodzic blamed on unspecified "unsatisfactory conduct."

Also returning is Benfica midfielder Adel Taarabt after being left out of Morocco's roster for last year's African Cup of Nations, at which it reached the quarterfinals, and all but the first game of Morocco's successful 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Yassine Bounou of Sevilla won Marca's Zamora Trophy for best goalkeeper of the 2021-22 LaLiga season.

Not returning is Christian Pulisic's Chelsea teammate Hakim Ziyech. The 29-year-old attacking midfielder announced his national team retirement last February, saying Halilhodzic accused him of feigning an injury. Ziyech turned downed a call-up by Halilhodzic for Morocco's World Cup qualifying playoff against DR Congo in late March. Morocco prevailed, 5-2, on aggregate after topping its group with Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Sudan.

Morocco roster
Yassine Bounou (Sevilla/ESP)
Munir El Kajoui (Hatayspor/TUR)
Anas Zniti (Raja Casablanca).
Achraf Hakimi (Paris SG/FRA)
Noussir Mazraoui (Bayern Munich/GER)
Soufiane Alakouch (FC Lausanne/SUI)
Adam Massina (Watford/ENG)
Soufiane Chakla (OH Louvain/BEL)
Samy Mmaee (Ferencvárosi/BUL)
Ghanem Saïss (Wolves/ENG)
Nayef Aguerd (Rennes/France)
* Yahya Attiat Allah (Wydad Casablanca)
* Jawad El Yamiq (Real Valladolid/ESP)
Fayçal Fajr (Sivasspor/TUR)
Soufiane Amrabat (Fiorentina/ITA)
Aymen Barkok (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER)
Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers/ENG)
Adel Taarabt (Benfica/POR)
Azzedine Ounahi Angers/FRA)
Selim Amallah (Standard de Liège/BEL).
Soufiane Rahimi (Al-Aïn FC/UAE)
Amine Harit (Marseille/FRA)
Munir Haddadi (Sevilla/ESP)
Zakaria Aboukhlal (AZ Alkmaar /NED)
Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla/ESP)
Ayoub El Kaabi (Hatayspor/TUR)
Tarik Tissoudali (Gent/BEL)
*Defenders Yahya Attiat Allah and Jawad el Yamiq will join the squad after the Morocco's U.S. trip.

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