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Soccer-Frenchman Renard named Ivory Coast coach

Reuters

* Two-year contract for Frenchman Renard

* Replaces Lamouchi after World Cup failure (adds details)

ABIDJAN, July 31 (Reuters) - Frenchman Herve Renard, who led Zambia to the African Nations Cup title in 2012, was on Thursday named as Ivory Coast coach.

He takes charge of Africa's second-ranked team in place of Sabri Lamouchi, whose contract was not renewed after the Ivorians failed to get past the first round at the World Cup in Brazil last month.

The 45-year-old Renard was chosen ahead of compatriot Frederic Antonetti and Portuguese coach Manuel Jose on a final shortlist of candidates.

Renard has been give a two-year contract, Ivory Coast Football Federation president Sidy Diallo said at a press conference, and was due in Abidjan at the weekend.

His first task will be to qualify Ivory Coast for the next Nations Cup in Morocco next year.

They will compete in a tough group against Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the winners of a playoff between Sierra Leone and the Seychelles.

But the Ivorians, after a litany of close calls, will be expecting not only to qualify but go on and win the African championship next February.

Renard's Zambian side beat them on penalties in the 2012 final.

Renard, who worked as a garbage collector after ending his playing career, left Zambia after the completion of World Cup qualifiers last year and took over at Ligue 1 club Sochaux but was unable to save them from relegation on a dramatic last day of the season in May.

Renard has extensive experience of African soccer including a brief spell as coach of Angola in 2011 and as assistant coach of Ghana. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com; +27 82 8257807; Reuters Messaging: mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum)

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