Zambia coach finally makes a name for himself

Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:32pm GMT

By André Assier

LYON, France (Reuters) - Barely known in his native France, former cleaning company executive Herve Renard is about to make a name for himself after coaching Zambia to their third African Nations Cup final.

Zambia have never been African champions but meet Ivory Coast on Sunday as they bid to finally clinch a title they were so close to in 1974 and 1994.

When he realised as a teenager he was never going to make the grade as a top professional player, Renard switched to coaching French amateurs sides but never got a chance with a first division team.

"I am not in the who's who," the 43-year-old told Reuters by telephone from Gabon.

"I took out the rubbish for eight years and now I'm about to coach in the African Nations Cup final. Soccer is magical right?"

At the age of 15, he landed in Cannes to train in one of the finest French soccer academies of the time.

"I was one of the best," said a man who played with future World Cup winners Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps in their teenage years.

"But as soon as I was confronted by top players, I realised I was not that good. I ended up as an average third-tier player."   Continued...

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