Morocco will be without forward Tarik Tissoudali at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year after he suffered a serious knee injury during a Belgian league match on Saturday.
The 29-year-old ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee while playing for KAA Gent on Saturday, and the Belgian club confirmed he will be out for at least six months.
Tissoudali was forced off against Sint-Truiden after just 31 minutes of their Jupiler Pro League encounter, which ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
The player expressed his disappointment at being unable to represent his country in the global tournament but remained optimistic that he will come back stronger.
Tissoudali said via a post on social media:
I played my last match for at least 6 months. Many dreams fall away, but Allah always has a better plan than my own plan.
I promise you I will come back even stronger. I wish my team every success this season and I will be there on the play-offs and will support Morocco at the World Cup.
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His absence will leave Morocco short up front with former Wydad Casablanca star Ayoub El Kaabi, who plays for Turkey Super Lig side Hatayspor, set to take on more goalscoring responsibilities in Qatar.
El Kaabi bagged 18 goals for Hatayspor last season, missing out on the Golden Boot Award by just two goals, in what was his debut season in Europe.
The Atlas Lions are in a tough, Group F at the World Cup alongside 2018 finalists Croatia, Belgium, who finished third in Russia four years ago and Canada.