Hervé Renard quits Saudi Arabia for France women’s team job

Former Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia coach Hervé Renard has quit the Saudi Arabia men’s job to run the France women’s team.

The 54-year-old has been approached to replace Corinne Diacre, who was sacked after several key players threatened to no longer represent their country under her leadership.

On Tuesday, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) stated that Renard requested his contract be terminated.

“[Renard] has an offer from the French Federation and expressed his desire to take this opportunity,” SAFF president Yasser Al-Misehal told Saudi Sports Channel.

“We were informed four days before the current international window and I received a letter from the French Federation and consulted with the board of directors and we decided to accept this request.”

Renard took charge of Saudi Arabia in July 2019 and guided them to their second successive World Cup finals. They shocked eventual champions Argentina with a 2-1 win in Qatar last year.

Renard told reporters after a friendly loss to Bolivia on Tuesday: “I would like to thank everybody in Saudi for their support during almost four years.

“I think I did the maximum with the team. I can’t reach another level so I prefer to be honest with everybody. Thank you again, it was a fantastic time.”

The French women’s challenge

Hervé Renard should be officially announced as taking the reins of the French women’s football team anytime before the close of the week.

In what is considered an unprecedented challenge, Renard will lead Les Bleues to the Fifa Women’s World Cup set to be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia this summer. He will also lead Les Bleues to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Renard, though lacking women’s team experience, will become the 9th coach in Les Bleues history and will have the task of leading the team to a first title.  

“We have the chance to play the World Cup in five months. The following year there will be the Olympic Games in France and perhaps the Women’s Euro again the following year. There is an extraordinary cycle to come and I think we have to be very, very ambitious. So we have to change habits, think outside the box and give ourselves the means to get this World Cup in Australia and New Zealand,” argued Jean-Michel Aulas, a member of the Comex to defend the arrival of Hervé Renard, in a recent interview. 

Hervé Renard’s first assignment will be leading 5th-ranked France to the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup set to be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia from July 20 to August 20.

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