Former Zambia, Ivory Coast and Morocco coach Herve Renard turned down an opportunity to become Ghana coach and opted to stay with Saudi Arabia instead in a bid to help them qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
Renard, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia in 2012 and with Ivory Coast three years later, was approached by the Ghana Football Association as they sought a replacement for Charles Akonnor, who was sacked in September 2021, but he was not interested.
“The Ghana Football Association gave us 48 hours to settle on a new coach for the team and we decided that we have to go in for someone who understands the culture of the country,” GFA executive council member Randy Abbey told Accra-based Original FM as reported by Ghanasoccernet.
“Herve Renard was our first choice but when we contacted him, he was not ready to leave his work with the Saudi Arabia team because he told us he wants to lead the side to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Again, his monthly salary was a problem because he was on $80,000 but we were still ready to negotiate with him,” he added.
Ghana then settled on former coach Milovan Rajevac but the Serbian’s second stint lasted just five months as he was sent packing after the Black Stars failed to get out of their group at the 2021 Afcon in Cameroon while Renard managed to steer Saudi Arabia to World Cup qualification.
Frenchman Renard is no stranger to the Black Stars, having served as an assistant to veteran compatriot Claude Le Roy when he led Ghana to third place at the 2008 Afcon which the West African country hosted.
He is well versed with African football following his two stints with Zambia and also coached Angola before taking over the Ivorians, whom he led to the continental title in 2015, to become the first coach to win two Afcons with different countries.
Following a short stint in club management with Ligue 1 side Lille in 2015, he returned to Africa to take over as Morocco coach in October 2016, taking the Atlas Lions to the 2018 World Cup in Russia as well as the 2019 Afcon in Egypt.
He has been with Saudi Arabia since July 2019 and sealed their ticket to the global tournament in Qatar in March this year, becoming the foreign manager with the most wins (18) in the country’s history.