By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
Morocco: Herve Renard stepped down as Morocco national team head coach. His resignation came days after a shocking defeat of Morocco against Benin during the 16 round of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Friday, July 5.
Having gone into the round of 16 with 9 points and three victories under their belts, the sudden exit of the Atlas Lions shocked Moroccan fans.
The coach joined the national football team in February 2016 and led the Atlas Lions to the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Since last year, rumors and speculation ran wild over the possibility of Renard leaving the Atlas Lions. Renard had a contract with the Moroccan team until February 2022.
Prior to AFCON, Head of Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) Fouzi Lekjaa said, there was no “guarantee” that Renard would stay with the Moroccan team after the African tournament.
Lekjaa said, Renard’s future depended on results obtained in an official competition, suggesting that Morocco’s performance at AFCON would have a definitive bearing on Renard’s Moroccan adventure.
The FRMF chairman added that after each competition, both parties should take a moment’s pause “before moving forward.”
French news outlet L’Equipe also reported in May that Renard would leave after the continental tournament.
However, Renard had firmly shut down any rumors of his resignation. “Some people talk about my future in the media to sow trouble in the Moroccan spirit and if it’s still a little too early to know what will be done, one this is certain,” Renard said in an Instagram post.
Renard also denied rumors that he would move to another African team, “Out of respect for Morocco and all Moroccans I will not leave in any way for another African nation regardless of it. Those who claim so are wrong,” he said.
Renard, who is a French national, served as a coach of the national team since 2016. He previously coached Cote D’Ivoire and Zambia, winning Africa Cup of Nations with both teams.