MOROCCO

Herve Renard returns to Africa as coach of Morocco

The former Sochaux and Lille coach takes over from Badou Ezaki. Renard has won the Africa Cup of Nations twice, with Zambia and Ivory Coast.

Herve Renard returns to Africa as coach of Morocco
FADEL SENNA AFP

Burkina Faso vs Egypt

Frenchman Herve Renard was named as Morocco coach on Tuesday, returning to African football in which he has enjoyed considerable success.

The 47-year-old, who won the African Nations Cup with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast last year, has been tasked with leading the North African country to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

He replaces Badou Ezaki, who parted ways with the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) by mutual consent last week "after 20 months of instability and inconsistent results".

"I'm delighted to have been appointed coach of Morocco's national team. The first  [objective] is, of course, qualification for the African Cup of Nations in 2017, it's not far away, and before that there is the start of qualification for the 2018 World Cup, so it's a pretty packed schedule," Renard told a news conference in Rabat on Tuesday.

The team have won their opening two qualifiers for the next African Nations Cup. "We must continue on this path, hoping that Moroccan football can hoist its colours at the highest level in Africa, and also represent the continent at the World Cup."

Renard became Zambia coach in 2008 and took the team to the Nations Cup quarter-finals in Angola two years later. They were bundled out in a penalty shootout by Nigeria but Renard got a lucrative offer to stay on in Angola as their coach.

He took charge of Zambia again in late 2011 and months later they were crowned African champions. Renard coached Sochaux in Ligue 1 and almost lifted them clear of relegation, only to lose at home on the last day of the season in 2014 and go down.

After the World Cup in Brazil, he was appointed as Ivory Coast coach and took them to a long-awaited Nations Cup triumph.

He left to coach Lille in Ligue 1 but was fired in November after 13 matches in charge.