Herve Renard and the resurgent World Cup bound Morocco - FCNaija
Africa Focus By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 13/11/2017
Herve Renard led side Morocco qualified for their fifth World Cup last Saturday after two decades with a 2-0 win over Cote d’Ivoire at Stade the Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan. Morocco topped Group F after holding both Poland and England to goalless draws and beating Portugal 3–1. By doing so, they became the first African team to reach the second round in 1986 World Cup in Mexico with the former Africa Player of Year Badou Zaki, Abdelaziz Souleimani, Abdelkrim Merry "Krimau" and Mustafa El Haddaoui.1998 runner-up, West Germany had a much harder time getting past Morocco, for whom goalkeeper Zaki had an outstanding game. North African held out until the 87th minute when Lothar Matthaus scored the only goal of the match with a free kick.Atlas Lion of Morocco are set to feature at the Holy Grail of football in Russia next year after 20 years of struggle to make it to the prestigious tournament in world football after the golden generation of Mustapha Hadji, Youssef Chippo, Noureddine Naybet, Said
Meanwhile, the Maghrebian side has since failed to make an impact in both the African scene and world stage after the eras of Hadji and Naybet fade away with no succession plan to integrate new players to the national team set-up which saw them miss four previous World Cups editions hosted by Korea/Japan, Germany, South Africa and Brazil. Herve Renard was appointed coach of Morocco in February 2016 after the 49-year-old who became the first coach to win two Africa Cup of Nations titles with Zambia in 2012 and Cote d'Ivoire in 2015. The French-born manager Renard began his transformation of the Moroccan national side into a great unit as they started their World Cup campaign on poor note away to Gabon and home to Ivory Coast both end on a goalless draw before bouncing back with a 6-0 whitewash of Mali and stalemate draw in the return leg against Mali.