Renard new Ivory Coast coach

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iol spt july31 Renard REUTERS Frenchman Herve Renard was appointed Ivory Coast coach on a four-year deal, succeeding compatriot Sabri Lamouchi. Photo by: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

ABIDJAN, 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 talent-filled West African team past the group stage at the World Cup in Brazil.

Renard, an African Cup-winning coach with Zambia in 2012, 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 Cup of Nations title in Gabon two years ago, beating overwhelming favorite Ivory Coast in a penalty shootout in the final in Libreville.

The 45-year-old Renard had been coaching Sochaux in the French league for the past year. The team was relegated from France's top flight under Renard 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.

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 Cup of Nations early next year with the country still longing for its first title since 1992. Ivory Coast has 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, where the team failed to make the second round after a last-minute loss to Greece.

Renard beat out fellow Frenchman Frederic Antonetti and Portugal's Manuel Jose for 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. – Sapa-AP

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