El Hajjam on Morocco standby as Dirar struggles for fitness

Reuters , Reuters , Saturday 9 Jun 2018

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - AS Monaco v Amiens SC - Stade Louis II, Monaco, France - April 28, 2018 Amiens' Oualid El Hajjam after the match REUTERS

Morocco have put French-born defender Oualid El Hajjam on standby as a potential injury replacement for the World Cup as right back Nabil Dirar continues to battle with a calf problem on the eve of the finals, officials said on Saturday.

Dirar has been ruled out of Morocco's final warm-up against Estonia in Tallinn on Saturday, meaning he has now missed all three friendlies played by the north Africans over the last fortnight before heading to Russia, where they have testing assignments in Group B against Iran, Portugal and Spain.

The 32-year-old Dirar, who plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey, had been a regular for Morocco in their successful qualifying campaign and scored in the decisive match in the preliminaries away against the Ivory Coast last November.

El Hajjam made his debut for Morocco in a friendly against Uzbekistan in March but was not named in the 23-man squad for Russia by coach Herve Renard.

The 27-year-old plays for Amiens in France and came into the reckoning for the Morocco national side after an inaugural season playing in Ligue 1.

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