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Football: African champion Renard to join Lille


Hervé Renard

Hervé Renard

Lille are close to signing two-time African Cup of Nations-winning coach Herve Renard to replace Rene Girard, who on Tuesday agreed to quit the French Ligue 1 club.

Renard led Ivory Coast to Africa’s showpiece football title in February 2015 and three years previously also famously guided Zambia to the same crown.

“It’s 99 percent done. A three-year deal has been reached by Renard and the club, but he has details to work out with Ivory Coast. And nothing will be signed before the final game of the season,” a source close to the matter told AFP.

The 46-year-old also coached then-Ligue 1 club Sochaux during the 2013-2014 season, battling unsuccessfully in their bid to avoid relegation to Ligue 2.

Renard has reportedly been in close contact with Lille managing director Jean-Michel Vandamme, notably outlining key players he wishes to keep.

Earlier Tuesday the northern French outfit revealed it would be parting ways with the current coach Girard.

“Lille and its coach Rene Girard will put an end to their collaboration at the end of this 2014-15 season,” the club said in a statement.

“This decision was made by mutual agreement between the two parties, after two years of good cooperation.

“At a time for planning and working on the next project, Lille and Rene Girard took the decision not to extend their relationship beyond this season.”

Also departing with the 61-year-old Girard will be his assistants Gerard Bernardet and Nicolas Girard, with the club expecting to name a new coach before May 30.

Girard’s last match in charge of Lille will be against Metz on Saturday, the final match of the season.

Lille, who notably suffered a 6-1 rout away at champions Paris Saint-Germain last month, currently sit eighth in Ligue 1 on 53 points.

It means the club will miss out on European football next season, Girard having led them to a third-placed finish last season.


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