Herve Renard hopes to torment Ivory Coast again

SINCE transforming perennial underachievers the Ivory Coast into African champions four years ago, Herve Renard has tormented them as coach of Morocco.

The 50-year-old Frenchman, whose match-day shirts are always white, ensured the 2017 title defence of the Ivorians did not last beyond the first round as they fell 1-0 to the Moroccans.

Renard inflicted more misery on his former team in 2018 World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 trumph in Abidjan, taking Morocco to Russia at the expense of the Ivorians.

Considered potential winners of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Morocco and the Ivory Coast meet today in a Group D top-of-the-table showdown in Cairo.

“This is a special game for me,” said Renard, the only coach to win the Cup of Nations with two countries, Zambia and the Ivory Coast.

Both countries launched their campaigns with solitary-goal victories in sweltering mid-afternoon Cairo heat, but the Ivorians will have been the happier side.

While they outmuscled South Africa and should have won by more than a Jonathan Kodjia strike, Morocco laboured to a win that came via a late Itamunua Keimuine own-goal.

Ivory Coast coach Ibrahim Kamara said “the result was more important than the performance. It was critical not to fail in our opening match”.

Rather than slam a lacklustre Moroccan display, Renard hailed Namibia: “They were well organised and coached.”

While both nations should make the last 16, winning the group would set up a fixture against one of the third-place qualifiers while coming second means taking on the Group E winners. – AFP

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