The Monday Column: Renard for Bafana
Posted: 13 November 2017 Time: 13:00
KickOff.com editor Tshepang Mailwane feels Frenchman Herve Renard would have taken Bafana Bafana to another level had SAFA hired him.
South Africans were made to wait for months before a new Bafana Bafana coach was announced in May last year and it was rather underwhelming when the name of Stuart Baxter was revealed as the man to take over from Shakes Mashaba.
For months names such as Carlos Queiroz, Hugo Broos and Herve Renard were mentioned as candidates to take over one of the continent’s most lucrative jobs. I had my fingers crossed that Renard would take charge of the team.
On Saturday night, the day after Baxter had failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Bafana, I watched Renard’s Morocco side dismantling Ivory Coast to book themselves a spot at the showpiece for the first time since 1998, without conceding a goal in the round robin phase of the qualifiers. And there I was, wondering why on earth did SAFA not do everything in their power to get this man who has proven to be a top coach on the continent time and again on board.
At first glance, Renard looks like a model you’d find on a cover of a top magazine and you’d probably doubt his ability as a coach if you had no idea who he is. Far from it. This man has won the Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia and the Ivory Coast and will go down as one of the finest coaches to walk the African continent. Baxter, meanwhile, is yet to prove himself on the continent.
Zambia were crowned champions in 2012 with Renard at the helm, having last featured in the final in 1994.
It was not a squad with many stars, but Chipolopolo played without fear, beating Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast on their journey to being crowned African champions. No one had even tipped the Zambians as possible contenders, but they surprised the footballing world.
Christopher Katongo was named player of the tournament and Emmanuel Mayuka, who went on to play for Southampton in England, was the top goal scorer. Zambia had four players in the team of the tournament, including Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene. Zambia were all of a sudden a force to be reckoned with on the continent.
Then the Frenchman took charge of an Ivory Coast side renowned for failing on the big stage, despite having so many stars who ply their trade in Europe.
The Ivorians were desperate for success when they went into the 2015 edition. Renard delivered by winning the title, ending 23 years of heartache for the West Africans.
During the AFCON in 2017, Morocco reached the quarterfinals, beating Ivory Coast and Togo in the group stages as they finished in second place behind DRC.
Not since 2004, when they finished as runners-up, had the Moroccans gone past the group stages, so they have made serious progress under the guidance of the Frenchman. Now they are heading to the World Cup and anything is possible.
Renard has taken countries that had been under achieving and brought them success. I believe if given the role, Renard would no doubt turn Bafana into a powerhouse on the continent. He may demand a hefty salary, but it would probably be worth it.
At the moment, it seems SAFA are determined to stick with Baxter. If he fails to qualify for the 2019 AFCON, then surely he should not stay on as coach.