Morocco coach Hervé Renard will lead the Atlas Lions into their first 2017 Africa Cup of Nations encounter against DR Congo at the Stade d’Oyem on Monday with the knowledge that the ultimate triumph at the tournament in Gabon would be the third AFCON title of his coaching career.
Renard previously won Africa’s premier competition in 2012 with Zambia, and then in 2015 with Ivory Coast.
He now coaches the North Africans, and the Frenchman, who always wears a crisp white shirt when on the sidelines during matches, believes that it will be a difficult task to emulate previous achievements with the Atlas Lions this time around.
The 48-year-old acknowledged, however, that the Ivorian national team struggled before their victorious tournament two years ago, which inspires him to believe in his side’s possibilities.
‘We would like to do it, but it is easier said than done,’ Renard said to beIN Sports.
‘When we came into the tournament with Ivory Coast we were not in sparkling form so that is what makes me think everything is possible in a competition like the African Cup,’ he added.
After facing DR Congo on Monday, Morocco have further Group C matches against Togo and Ivory Coast to contend with in group stage play, before potential progress to the knockout phase.
Recent injuries to star performers Younès Belhanda and Sofiane Boufal mean that both players have been ruled out of the tournament, adding to Renard’s worries, but the Moroccans have pedigree and a fair amount of depth within the squad, as well as the services of prolific striker Youssef El-Arabi, who will be key to any successful run for Morocco.