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Rubbish collector Renard now picking up trophies

07 February 2015, 07:12

BATA, Equatorial Guinea - Herve Renard, who will lead Ivory Coast in Sunday's African Nations Cup final against Ghana, once collected rubbish for a living and is now in the business of picking up trophies.

The dashing 46-year-old Frenchman, who wears a trademark tight white shirt on the bench, could become the first coach to win the trophy with two countries.

Renard was a virtual unknown when he took Zambia to the 2012 title but has since had a stint in Ligue 1 and is often tipped as a possible candidate when French jobs are up for grabs.

The former Cannes defender once ran a garbage collection company, cleaning empty offices at night and dreaming of a chance to make a career in football.

When he realised as a teenager he was never going to make the grade as a top footballer he coached at amateur level but never got a chance with a leading club.

"I am not in 'Who's Who'," Renard told Reuters in an interview on the eve of Zambia's penalty shootout victory over Ivory Coast in the 2012 final.

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

A chance encounter with Claude Le Roy, another Frenchman who is better known in Africa, saw Renard offered the opportunity to be his assistant with Ghana.

Renard's first solo job was in the anonymity of club football in Vietnam and his big break came when Le Roy recommended him to Zambia.

He became their coach in 2008 and took them to the Nations Cup quarter-finals two years later in Angola.

They were bundled out in a penalty shootout by Nigeria but Renard got a lucrative offer to remain in Angola as their national coach.

That proved a brief and disappointing tenure but he bounced back in Algeria with USM Alger only to rejoin Zambia in late 2011.

A stint with Ligue 1 side Sochaux followed last season. Renard almost lifted them clear of relegation but a home defeat on the last day of the season meant they went down.

He was linked with jobs at Lorient and Lille before taking charge of Ivory Coast after last year's World Cup in Brazil.

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- Reuters


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