Football: Hervé Renard in search of success at the head of Les Bleues
Hervé Renard, then coach of Saudi Arabia, during the Saudi Arabia-Mexico match during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, November 30, 2022. © AFP / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA
Text by: Valentin Berg Follow
Hervé Renard has been officially appointed coach of the women's France team until August 2024, announced this Thursday, March 30, the French Football Federation (FFF). He succeeds Corinne Diacre and arrives at the head of Les Bleues just a few months before the next World Cup.
The man of miracles faces a new challenge. A few days after resigning as coach of Saudi Arabia, Hervé Renard was appointed coach of the women's France team until August 2024. A first for the French technician, who enjoys a solid reputation on the African continent and in the Middle East, but has not been unanimous in France in the past and has never managed a women's team.
Described as "humble" and "lumberjack", an image that contrasts with his charismatic look and his famous white shirt, Hervé Renard arrives at the head of Les Bleues just a few months before the next Women's World Cup, organized from July 20 to August 20 in Australia and New Zealand. He will especially have to succeed in appeasing a group of players weakened by the sling of several of his executives – including captain Wendie Renard – who withdrew from the selection to protest against the management of Corinne Diacre, the coach in office since 2017, and finally leading to her dismissal.
To support him in his mission, the Frenchman should be helped by a staff more experienced than him in the daily life of women's football. According to sources close to the case, the former deputy of Deacon, Eric Blahic, as well as his trusted deputy Laurent Bonadéi, who was already accompanying him to Saudi Arabia, should be part of it. The first list of the new coach will be unveiled this Friday, March 31 for friendly matches against Colombia, April 7 in Clermont-Ferrand, and Canada, April 11 in Le Mans.
An exceptional track record in Africa
At 54 years old, the man who has never managed to impose himself in France, especially after inconclusive passages in Sochaux (2013-2014) and Lille (2015), returns with an impressive track record won on the African continent. After meeting Claude Le Roy, the "Blond Sorcerer" of African football, Hervé Renard became his assistant at the head of the Ghana national team in 2007 and saw his career take a major turn. "It changed my destiny," admits the French technician himself.
He quickly emancipated himself from his mentor and became coach of Zambia, with whom he managed the feat of winning the African Cup of Nations in 2012, the very first in the country's history. He repeated at the head of Côte d'Ivoire in 2015 and was crowned for the second time in the competition, becoming the first coach to win two editions of the CAN with two different selections.
He also led the Moroccan national team at the 2018 World Cup, and more recently that of Saudi Arabia at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, during which he again marked the spirits by surprising Argentina (2-1) with the Falcons. "I didn't have the playing career I would have dreamed of. I tried to catch up as a coach, "summarizes this leader of men who places the collective above all else.
🇸🇦🤯 #beINFWC2022 Find Hervé Renard's incredible speech at half-time Argentina - Saudi Arabia...
🗣️ "Take out your phone to take a picture with Messi !!!"
💪 The rest of this match is history... pic.twitter.com/FjOO0vo2lN
— beIN SPORTS (@beinsports_FR) November 25, 2022
The French globetrotter is now tackling a new high: finally leading the women's France team to glory, after its failures at the 2019 World Cup, beaten 1-2 by the United States in the quarter-finals, and Euro 2022, where Les Bleues were eliminated in the semi-finals by Germany (2-1).
For this, Hervé Renard will have to prove his ability to manage a group in the middle of a storm and succeed in the eventual reintegration of the rebellious internationals. The fate of some major players long dismissed by Diacre, such as Lyon striker Eugenie Le Sommer or PSG goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, is also at the center of questions. After having proven everything abroad, Hervé Renard now hopes to finally become a prophet in his country.
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- Women's football