French-born Herve Renard, 48, is most likely the most successful national soccer coach in Africa. He’s the only coach to ever win two African Cup of Nation trophies with two different countries, with the Elephants of Ivory Coast in 2015 and Zambia’s Chipolopolo in the 2012.
In January, Confederation of African Football (CAF) named him coach of the year after leading Ivory Coast to the African Cup of Nations title in 2014 during the tournament held in South Africa.
This year, Renard signed a three-year contract to coach Moroccan national team, The Atlas Lions. This will be the fifth African country for him to coach, after Zambia, Angolam Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Here are some things you should to know about the French tactician;
He played alongside Zinedine Zidane
Renard joined the AS Cannes football academy aged 15 years, in 1983. Zinedine Zidane, one of France’s and world’s greatest football talents was his team-mate. Arsene Wenger, the current manager at Arsenal was the academy coach. He also played for the France Under-17 national team in several positions that included central defense and central midfield.
Only coach to lead two national teams to AFCON victory
Last year, Renard made history when he led The Elephants of Ivory Coast to victory in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). He had achieved a similar feat with Zambia’s Chipolopolo in 2012.
He owned a cleaning company
During his early days as a budding coach in his native France, Renard had a cleaning company that collected waste in communal parts and buildings. He ran the company for a good eight years.
He dresses in a trademark white-long sleeved shirt
The Frenchman dresses in trademark white-long sleeved shirt and denim jeans during official games. He considers being too formal and would portray him as too serious, something he does not fancy. He has got several white shirts and blue jeans but this is not connected to superstitions.
He’s quite controversial
In February 2013, Renard, while at the helm of Chipolopolo said that CAF denied his team the ticket to play in the Confederations Cup in Brazil, because they were not playing ‘sexy’ football like Ivory Coast. He was fined $10,000 for these remarks.
He’s only been head coach with three African teams
Renard has only being a national team coach in Africa. He was assistant coach with Ghana. Morocco is his third national team as a head coach, having previously been with Ivory Coast, Zambia and Angola.
He’s had tough times speaking English
In 2004, while in-charge of Cambridge United in England, Renard could not speak English and also did not have an interpreter. He considers the spell as one of the toughest times in his coaching career.
He admires Jose Mourinho’s tactics
The current Moroccan coach has a lot of admiration for former Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho. He considers the Portuguese as one of the most tactically intelligent and mentally strongest coaches in club football.
His ultimate dream is to lead a team to the World Cup
He desires to coach at the greatest stages of world football. These are the World Cup and the European Champions League. He has set these as his targets after exploits in African football and other coaching stints in his native France, China and England.
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