Saudi Arabia appoint Hervé Renard as head coach
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia have unveiled two-time African Cup of Nations winner Hervé Renard as their new national head coach.
The Frenchman joins the Green Falcons ahead of their imminent FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers campaign, which begins in early September.
Renard - who became the first coach in history to win the African title with two different nations when he led Zambia to glory in 2012 and succeeded again with Côte d’Ivoire three years later – joins the Saudi setup following his resignation as Moroccan national team head coach two weeks ago.
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The appointment is Renard’s first in Asian football, and he revealed his excitement in a short message on social media.
“Happy to start a new adventure in Saudi Arabia on a new continent!” the 50-year-old posted on Monday evening.
Renard is seen as the long-term replacement to Argentine coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who led Saudi Arabia at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 before his tenure ended in January, with Youssef Anbar taking charge in the interim.
Saudi Arabian Football Federation President Yasser Hassan Almisehal revealed the rationale behind Renard’s appointment, saying: "We are anxious to sign with a coach who has a big name, and who is able to add for Saudi football, and who has a very strong resume."
Highly experienced, Renard has previously coached Sochaux and Lille in France’s Ligue 1 and guided Morocco to the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, ending a 20-year qualification drought for the North African nation.
Morocco’s 2019 African Cup of Nations campaign ended at the Round of 16 stage after they were eliminated on penalties by tournament surprise package Benin.
Saudi Arabia’s Asian Qualifiers campaign begins against Yemen on September 10, in a group which also includes Uzbekistan, Palestine and Singapore.
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