Herve Renard to lead Ivory Coast
Frenchman Herve Renard was appointed Ivory Coast coach on a four-year deal on Thursday, succeeding compatriot Sabri Lamouchi, who failed to lead the team out of their group at the World Cup in Brazil.
Renard, an African Nations Cup-winning coach with Zambia, was announced as the successful candidate by the Ivory Coast Football Federation, putting him in charge of the team he beat in his finest moment as a coach.
Renard led the underdog Zambians to the African Nations Cup title in Gabon two years ago, beating overwhelming favorites Ivory Coast in a penalty shootout in the final in Libreville.
The 45-year-old Renard had been coaching Sochaux in Ligue 1 for the past year, but they were relegated in May.
"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," Ivoarian federation president Sidy Diallo said. "We were looking for a loyal, able coach who had already proved himself."
Renard was not present for the announcement but would travel to Ivory Coast next weekend, Diallo said.
Renard's first challenge with the Ivorians is the African Nations Cup early next year, with the country still longing for its first title since 1992. Ivory Coast have lost two finals since then, and Lamouchi could not end the disappointment with a quarterfinal exit in South Africa last year.
Lamouchi then oversaw a disappointing World Cup campaign, as the team failed to make the second round after a last-minute loss to Greece.
Renard beat fellow Frenchman Frederic Antonetti and Portugal's Manuel Jose to the job. The federation identified them as final contenders alongside Renard.
Renard's contract is designed to keep him in charge through to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.