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The former Chipolopolo star manager returns to Africa to handle the team he defeated at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations final in Gabon

The Cote D’Ivoire football federation has announced the appointment of Herve Renard as coach of the national team, following the departure of Sabri Lamouchi after the 2014 Fifa World Cup, where the Ivorians narrowly missed out on qualification to the knockout stage.

The 45-year-old Frenchman had been tipped as the favourite by many sources in the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan ahead of Thursday’s unveiling.

He was chosen in preference to former Sporting and Benfica coach, Portuguese Jose Manuel De Jesus and Frenchman Frederic Antonetti, all of whom made the final three-man shortlist drawn out of the 37 candidates who applied for the post.

According to the vetting committee, Renard’s national team experience, twice with Zambia (2008-2010 and 2011-2013) and Angola (2010), gave him an edge over his two competitors, who are yet to coach a national side.

“The new coach will help guide the team which will enter a transition period very soon. We will use the 2015 and 2017 Afcon to rebuild the outfit and raise a new generation of players for the national team,” said Cote D’Ivoire FA chairman Augustin Sidy Diallo.

“We have to be patient. Our new project is focused on 2019 and I want Ivorians to bear with us and should not expect immediate results,” he said.

“The project he presented to us is in perfect line with the future plans for the team. His salary proposal was also the best.”

Renard was handed a two-year renewable contract. The coach won the 2012 African Cup of Nations with Zambia before leaving for the now relegated Ligue 1 side, Sochaux in one-season spell.

His first task is to qualify the Elephants to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Morocco next January.

He will also participate with local officials in the development of the country’s grassroots football and reinvigorate the Elephants by bringing in fresh talent from the local league or abroad, according to the FA.