A two-time winner of the Africa Cup of the Nations, the Frenchman is a unique tale. When he led an unfancied Zambia to the title in 2012, Renard sealed his cult status in the South African country.
Two years ago, he weaved his magic again as the Ivory Coast’s ‘golden generation’ finally delivered the ‘Holy Grail’. The cult status grew across Africa. Today, he turns his guns on his former employers when Morocco face Ivory Coast in a decisive group C game at Stade d’Oyem.
Morocco, currently second on three points, trail leaders DR Congo by a point. The reigning champions have two points and must win to advance.
DR Congo face Emmanuel Adebayor’s Togo (one point) in the other game to be played at the Stade de Port-Gentil simultaneously.
However, it will be Renard to grab some of the headlines. The Atlas Lions lost their opener 1-0 to DR Congo.
They recovered superbly to beat Togo 3-1 from a goal down. As has been the case before, the former Ghana assistant coach is not looking too far ahead. Journalists here have tried to spike him into the talk of a likely treble but Renard has insisted it is about making the knockout phase.
“I think qualification for the quarterfinals is our minimum objective. We have prepared well and will be ready,” said the one-time Paris rubbish collector. If they do so, he will have effectively resuscitated the 1976 African champions at the expense of the title holders.