CASABLANCA, July 21 (Reuters) - Herve Renard has left his post as Morocco coach after their shock early exit at the Africa Cup of Nations.
“It’s time for me to close this long and beautiful chapter of my life, not without some emotion and sadness, but it is an inescapable decision made well before the 2019 Cup of Nations,” the 50-year-old Frenchman wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Morocco were among the pre-tournament favourites with Renard seeking to claim an unprecedented third Cup of Nations title with three different countries - after successes with Zambia (2012) and Ivory Coast (2015).
But after winning all their group matches without conceding a goal, the Moroccans were bundled out following a penalty-shootout in the last-16 by outsiders Benin.
“I made that decision after having, obviously, considered it carefully. Thanks to the players, to the staff, the fans, the honest journalists and all those who demonstrated their support,” he added.
Renard took Morocco to last year’s World Cup in Russia where despite elimination in the first round, they left a positive impression.
His departure means coaches from seven of the 24 finalists have now left their jobs after the tournament in Egypt, which Algeria won by beating Senegal 1-0 in the final in Cairo on Friday. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; editing by Pritha Sarkar)