Morocco coach Herve Renard denies meeting with Lyon

Herve Renard Morocco
The Atlas Lions gaffer was reported to be among the candidates to succeed Bruno Genesio at the Groupama Stadium

Morocco coach Herve Renard has responded to reports about a potential move to Lyon.

He looks forward to preparing the North African country for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and has underlined his focus.

Last Saturday, Bruno Genesio confirmed that he will vacate his managerial position in Lyon at the end of the season. The Atlas Lions coach is alongside Jose Mourinho, Patrick Vieira and Claudio Ranieri as a candidate to succeed the 52-year-old in the summer.

Following the achievement of qualifying Morocco to their first World Cup outing since 1998, Renard was rewarded with an improved five-year deal that will keep him at the helm of the national team until 2022.

In his response to rumours linking him with a return to Ligue 1 in the summer, the former Zambia handler squashed reports of his meeting with a top executive from Lyon.

"There was a rumour that I met Gerard Houllier [the general manager of Olympique Lyon] in Marrakech. I was training with my selection and I've never met him," Renard said on Le Vestiaire de RMC.

"Here, I have an Africa Cup of Nations to prepare for. I’m focusing on that and I am an employee of the Moroccan Federation.”

After guiding Zambia to their maiden Africa Cup of Nations triumph in 2012, Renard left his role with Chipolopolo in 2013 and had two unsuccessful stints in the French Ligue 1.

He joined Sochaux in the French top-flight in 2013 but could not save Les Lionceaux from relegation in the 2013-14 campaign.

After another Afcon triumph with Cote d'Ivoire in 2015, the French tactician returned to France that same year where he took charge of Lille for only 13 games before his sacking.

Despite his poor stints at club level, the 50-year-old stated his desire to return to the French top-flight for another challenge one day.

"Of course I would like to re-coach in Ligue 1. They are wrong, those who think that I cannot succeed in a club," he added.

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"You can go ask Sochaux, people have a good memory of me despite the descent.

"It is normal that we take these arguments, the facts are there, but they have no explanation on the bad impressions left in Lille coaches, there are plenty who had failures.”

Morocco have been placed in Group D for this year's Africa Cup of Nations alongside South Africa, Cote d'Ivoire and Namibia.