COACH Herve Renard says his heart will always be with Zambia but his loyalty lies with the Ivory Coast ahead of Saturday’s friendly match set for the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka.
Renard arrived with his assistant Patrice Beaumelle along with 17 local players and some officials yesterday afternoon at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) for the friendly match to be played a day after Zambia’s Independence Day.
“My heart will always be with Zambia and I am happy to be back. I am coming to Zambia with divided loyalty because my heart is with Zambia but my professional loyalty is with my employers, Ivory Coast,” a jovial Renard said.
Renard said it was emotional to be back to Zambia a country he considers home and that he was glad to be part of the golden jubilee celebrations.
“I will tell you something from the bottom of my heart, I always thought it will be better somewhere else but to tell you the truth, I always miss Zambia. I wonder what you guys did to me,” he said.
Renard and Beaumelle will be among the sportsmen who will be honoured during Zambia’s Independence celebrations tomorrow after guiding the Chipolopolo to winning the Africa Cup in 2012.
He said getting honoured will be something he will live to remember as it will always remind him of the day when the Chipolopolo lifted the Africa Cup.
“I feel good that I will be honoured but it is something that I have difficulties talking about because it reminds me of February 13, 2012 when we came back with the Africa Cup. It is something I will always cherish,” he said.
Asked whether he had intentions of coming back to Zambia to drill the Chipolopolo, Renard said he will always come back as a citizen.
“I will always come back as a citizen of this country, I will not say much because in football anything can happen,” Renard said.
Meanwhile, Renard said the Chipolopolo has a chance of qualifying to the 2015 AFCON finals and that the game against Mozambique is a must win for Zambia.
“Zambia can still qualify to the Africa Cup, the game against Mozambique is the most important and they should win. I still follow Zambian football and I am abreast with what is happening, the players performances and those making the starting line-up,” he said.
Renard said Zambia has on many occasions had difficulties in qualifying but that in the end they always do, adding that he was hopeful of seeing the Chipolopolo at the finals along with his equally struggling Ivorian side.
FAZ has pegged gate chargers at K300 for VIP and K50 for the Open Wing.
Times of Zambia