Zambia coach Renard plays mind games claiming Ghana, IVC are AFCON favourites

Zambia coach Herve Renard has sparked his perennial mind games by claiming that he would be mocked for suggesting the Africa Cup of Nations title holders can hold on to their trophy in South Africa.

Zambia coach Herve Renard has sparked his perennial mind games to ease pressure on his side

Zambia coach Herve Renard has sparked his perennial mind games by claiming that he would be mocked for suggesting the Africa Cup of Nations title holders can hold on to their trophy in South Africa.

The dashing 44-year-old Frenchamn who defied the odds last year to guide the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) to glory in Gabon believes Ivory Coast and Ghana are the favourites.

“We cannot say we are the favourites – everybody would laugh if I said that. Ivory Coast and Ghana are the favourites,” he told a media conference after a training session in the north-eastern city of Nelspruit.

Renard says the Zambian build-up to the January 19-February 10 tournament has been better than last year, despite losses to Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and Angola and draws with Morocco and Norway in warm-up games.

“I think we are better than last year when I was very concerned. All our warm-up games had been poor. But look what happened then – we had nothing to show for ourselves and we won the tournament.”

The Frenchman said he was unconcerned by the five-match winless streak ahead of the 2013 tournament, explaining that some fixtures were hastily arranged and used to experiment with players and tactics.

“We arranged the friendly against Angola at the last minute. We were staying in the same Johannesburg hotel and scheduled it just one day in advance,” said the native of French Alpine town Aix-les-Bains.

Zambia have no injury worries ahead of the first round clash with Ethiopia on January 21, but centre-back Stopilla Sunzu is in England hoping to finalise a move to English Premier League club Reading.

Another of the five French coaches at the 2013 Cup of Nations – Democratic Republic of Congo handler Claude le Roy – backs Renard in installing Ivory Coast and Ghana as favourites.

“There are three teams I see as the top favourites for the tournament – Algeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast. I do not think any other team can lift the trophy,” the 64-year-old veteran of six African Cup campaigns told reporters.

Le Roy guided Cameroon to two consecutive finals, losing a penalty shootout against hosts Egypt after the match finished 0-0 after extra-time and defeating Nigeria 1-0 in Casablanca two years later.

He downplayed the chances of the Leopards, who are back at the African football showpiece for the first time since losing to hosts and eventual champions Egypt in the 2006 quarter-finals.

“We are not one of the favourites for the competition – far from it. We consider ourselves outsiders who can create some surprises and possibly spoil the dreams of big teams.”

The Congolese are in Port Elizabeth-based Group B with 2012 bronze medallists Mali, four-time champions Ghana, and Niger, leaving some pundits to believe they could contradict their fourth-seed status and reach the knockout stages.

A clash between 1996 champions South Africa and debutants Cape Verde Islands Saturday before a sell-out 90,000 crowd at Soccer City stadium in Soweto gets the 22-day tournament under way.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

    ZAMBIA R FAVORITES, NOT GHANA. LETS SEE HOW ZAMBIA ATTEMPT TO DEFEND THEIR CROWN IN FRONT OF MANDELA…..NOT USED TO PRESSURE, ABI?

    LET FATAU START, LET CLOTTEY START. LET AFFUL START. PLS DONT START UR BEST STARTERS AGAINST A TEAM LIKE CONGO. DONT WEAR UR SUNDAY CLOTHES TO PLAY. IM NOT UNDERATING CONGO, BUT LETS BE FRANK. CONGO IS NOT IN OUR CLASS AT ALL. SAVE UR BEST FOR LAST, PLS….

    ALL WE NEED IN THESE FIRST 3GAMES ARE CLEAN SHEETS. NO GOALS AGAINST AND ALL 3 POINTS.

    • rocket says:

      Shut up! Congo is good!

      • GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

        MENATLITY!
        AA MUST TAKE HEED TO MY ADVICE IF HE WANTS TO LIFT THE TROPHY
        1. Get your tactics right
        2. keep clean sheets in every single game.
        3. attackers win you a match, defenders win you a tournament.
        4. Make sure youR TEAM N PLAYERS are disciplined
        5. Treat your players with respect. motivated all the players like their big brother.
        6. Get the best out of your most talented players. PUT IN MORE WORK. MORE TRAINING, MORE LIFTING METAL
        7. Don’t complain about the facilities
        8. TRUST EACH OTHER

        WE NEED TO ADOPT THE MENTALITY OF SCORING AND NOT BE SCORED ON. NO GOALS AGAINST PLS…..
        AA, PREPARE FOR THE WORST POSSIBLE SITUATION AT THIS AFCON
        LETS USE THE FIRST 3 GAMES TO TIGHTEN OUR DEFENCE. NO GOALS AGAINST. ALL WE NEED ARE THE FULL 3 POINTS.
        JUS BEAT UR OPPONENTS BY 1 GOAL N DO NOT CLAIM ANY GOALS
        NO COMPLACENCY/TIRI MU D3, PLS…..

  2. NANA YAW says:

    YOU AND THIS YOUR BIG THINKING..!

  3. Zg says:

    Its no mind game, Zambia aint shit,these three teams are good except Ghana is the best,he just telling the truth.

  4. Coconutman says:

    You said it Renard, Ghana and Ivory Coast are the favorites, I will also include Mali and Algeria. The ghosts of the Zambia team have been laid to rest in AFCON 2012 now let us see what your copper bullets are capable of.

    The trophy is coming back to West Africa where it belongs.

  5. Abeiku says:

    Another former coach of Ghana would be a nightmare for Ghana!

  6. ADEBAYO says:

    The Zambian coach is very wise you must read in between the lines read this line again

    “…. We consider ourselves outsiders who can create some surprises and possibly spoil the dreams of big teams.”

    In others WORDS he is saying he’s gonna do it again!!. True last year teams like SENEGAL,GHANA and IVORY COAST where considered the favourites…but this same team Zambia started the tournament by beating one of the favouries SENEGAL and the rest everybody knows they lifted the TROPHY.. so this guy is out there on a mission to retain the trophy…very wise coach!! Do not be fooled by his comments!!!!He has prepared!!!ooooohoooo!!!

  7. ADEBAYO says:

    Read WHAT the Zambian coach says

    “I think we are better than last year when I was very concerned…. .”

    He has done his home work already he is fired up.HE IS BETTER THAN LAST YEAR! WOW! what a comment!!..watch out for this GUY!! he is on a mission!!oooohahahho!

  8. Nwaku says:

    If only Nigeria and Burkina Faso or Ethiopia can eliminate Zambia then chances of us lifting the cup will be rekindled.

  9. john says:

    who cares about mind games! if ur good mind games are rather frivolous…all i know is may the best team win