Renard ran a good race in Zambia – Kalusha Bwalya

Kalusha Bwalya
Kalusha Bwalya
FOOTBALL Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, Kalusha Bwalya thinks the best moment for Herve Renard to move on with his coaching career is now ripe after laying a good platform for Zambian football.

Kalusha said while there was never a perfect time to change a coach, now seemed the moment for the Frenchman to leave the Chipolopolo job.

He said Renard ran a good race in Zambia and that he would always be grateful for his experience as trainer for the Zambia soccer team.

Kalusha said when Renard trekked to Zambia in 2008, nobody knew him but that now he was leaving the Chipolopolo job as a household name; as one who also commands some respect in Africa.

“There is never a perfect time to change a coach, but if there was ever a moment to move on it is now. Herve ran a good race in Zambia. I will always be grateful for his experience in Zambia and I think his four or five years here will stand him in good stead.

“When he came no-one knew about him but now he is a household name. The people in Africa respect him. I am happy for him that he can go to Europe and establish a career for himself there. It is a good moment and a wonderful opportunity for him to move on,” Kalusha told British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Sport in an interview.

He said Renard, who left the Chipolopolo job by mutual consent this week for French Ligue 1 side FC Sochaux, had left a ‘fantastic’ legacy for local football after conquering all to win the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) championship.

The 1988 African Footballer-of the-Year thanked Renard for the work he did during his two stints as Zambia coach – 2008 to 2010 and 2011 to 2013.

Kalusha said the 2012 AFCON winning coach was a honest man who worked hard and always did his best for Zambia.

He said the Frenchman had left a good platform which he should be proud of himself as a coach.

“Herve Renard has left a fantastic legacy for football in Zambia. He is an honest man who is hard-working and always he did his very best for Zambia. He was young and enthusiastic when he came to Zambia in 2008 and he took us to the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola in 2010 where we reached the quarter-finals for the first time.

“He then went away but when he came back, I think maybe he felt he had unfinished business – he completed it when he conquered all by winning the biggest trophy, the Africa Cup of Nations at the 2012 tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

“He has left a very good platform – he should be proud of himself as a coach,” Kalusha told BBC Sport.

With Renard gone, FAZ promoted assistant coach, Patrice Beaumelle to take charge of the Chipolopolo with his first assignment being next Tuesday’s historic international friendly match against five-time world kings, Brazil in Beijing, China.