ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast turned to the man who masterminded one of its most painful defeats by appointing Frenchman Herve Renard as its new coach on a four-year contract on Thursday.
Renard was in charge of underdog Zambia when it upset the Ivorians in the final of the African Cup of Nations two years ago, and now takes over the talent-filled West African squad after the disappointing group-stage exit at the World Cup under fellow Frenchman Sabri Lamouchi.
The 45-year-old Renard's last job was with French club Sochaux, which was relegated from the top flight under him last season, but he has strong credentials in Africa.
"The executive committee chose the one that had the best knowledge of our team and of African football, as well as one who loves our country," Ivory Coast Football Federation President Sidy Diallo said.
Renard was not present for Thursday's announcement but would travel to Ivory Coast in the next few days, Diallo said. He beat out France's Frederic Antonetti and Portugal's Manuel Jose for the job, with Diallo saying Renard was the only one of the three shortlisted contenders to have "no problems" with living in Ivory Coast. Salary details were not disclosed but Diallo said Renard "fits our budget."
"He made some efforts. I interpret this as a sign that he has passion in his heart," Diallo said.
Ivory Coast is still searching for a first major trophy since its lone continental title in 1992.
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