Morocco’s coach, Herve Renard on Sunday announced his resignation after a disappointment from the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Morocco was ousted in the round of 16 by Benin following a penalty shootout.
Renard had taken the Zambian team to win AFCON in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015 before resuming as coach of Morocco in February 2016.
In a statement, Renard said that the decision to resign was made long before the kick-off of the 2019 AFCON, adding that it was not without some emotions and sadness.
Part of the statement reads: “Morocco will always remain for me a country with which I lived incredible emotions and with which I will have remained the longest link in continuous to date.
“Nearly three and a half years, 41 months to be precise, intense moments shared with players that I sincerely love, dedicated staff and all the Moroccan fans during this beautiful common period.
“It was a great adventure started in the anonymity of a return from Cape Verde to Egypt via Gabon and Russia, and that the progression of the team, from the 81st place FIFA in 2016 to today, has given rise to important ambitions in the hearts of a whole people and Moroccan fans.
“I am proud of what we have achieved and how far we have managed to hoist Moroccan football. In addition to our FIFA ranking (47th), we have twice reached the second round of the CAN, including a quarterfinal, a performance achieved since 2004; but also a participation in the 2018 World Cup in Russia after 20 years of absence for Morocco, an unforgettable first for me.
“Yes, we all hoped for this 2019 edition of the CAN in Egypt, but football is so, it gives birth to the wildest hopes (after 3 wins in the pool, a first in the finals of CAN for Morocco), and brings us hard to the reality of a quick elimination on penalties …!
“Also, it is time for me to close this long and beautiful chapter of my life, not without some emotion and sadness, but it is an inevitable decision taken well before CAN 2019.
“I made that decision after having – obviously – considered it carefully. It is therefore irreversible and Mr Fouzi Lekjaa, President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, has just been officially informed.
“He has contractually agreed to respect my decision, which I thank him for. Thanks to the players, the staff, the fans, the honest journalists and all those who brought me and especially showed their support. Dima Morocco! Hervé Renard.”