Hibs striker Benji handed late international call-up

By Steve Forbes
Last updated : 07 October 2009


Hibs forward Abdessalam Benjelloun has today been handed an international reprieve.

The 24-year-old Moroccan forward has been left out of the last few international squads, due to a lack of first team football, but following the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Dundee Utd, he has been re-called.

Benjelloun played the full 90 minutes against the Arabs, and is now hoping for the nod to take to the field against Gabon, as Morocco look to qualify for the World Cup next year.

Hibs boss John Hughes was delighted with his call-up and said:

"I opened up my laptop this morning to learn that Benji has been called up and I am pleased for him because he wanted to go and be involved in this game for Morocco.”

Hughes added:

"His call up is another indication of the quality of players we've got at the club and Benji has certainly worked very hard for me over the last few weeks.

"When he came back, he was miles away from being fully fit but, after playing in five or six bounce games and training every day as well, he has started to look very sharp.

"With Ramadan over, he's getting stronger as well and I think that showed as he did a great job for us in the 'hole' off the front on Saturday.

"I really am delighted for him because he's a boy I like working with. He comes into training every day with a big smile on his face, his humour is also never far away and, when you see some of the stuff he can do on the training pitch, you just say, 'Well done son'."

Benji joins a number of Hibees away on international duty this week, fellow Moroccan Merouane Zemmama is also away, as well as Liam Miller (Ireland), Derek Riordan (Scotland), Yves Ma-Kalambay (Belgium), Sol Bamba (Ivory Coast), Paul Hanlon & David Wotherspoon (Scotland U21).

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