Renard confirms Morocco resignation after disappointing AFCON campaign

The 50-year-old said he is proud of the progress Morocco made under his leadership before their early elimination from the tournament in Egypt

Herve Renard has resigned as coach of Morocco after three and a half years in charge.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation earlier this week denied reports the Frenchman had stepped down, but Renard used social media on Sunday to confirm he has left his post.

The 50-year-old took over the Atlas Lions in February 2016 and guided them to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, their first qualification in 20 years.

Having led both Zambia and Ivory Coast to Africa Cup of Nations glory during his coaching career and had a successful start to his Morocco tenure, much was expected of Renard in this year’s tournament in Egypt.

But Morocco endured a disappointing AFCON campaign, exiting the competition in shock circumstances in the round of 16 with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out defeat to Benin following a 1-1 draw.

Despite the sad end, Renard expressed his gratitude to Morocco after bringing an end to the “long and beautiful chapter”.

"Morocco will always remain for me a country with which I lived incredible emotions," he wrote in a statement posted on social media.

"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 81st place [in the FIFA rankings] 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 AFCON, including a quarter final, a performance not achieved since 2004, but also participation in the 2018 World Cup after 20 years of absence for Morocco, first time unforgettable for me.

“Yes, we had all hoped for better for this AFCON 2019 in Egypt, but this is football, it gives birth to the wildest hopes and brings us hard to the reality of an early elimination on penalties!

"It is time for me to close this long and beautiful chapter of my life, not without emotion and sadness, but it is an inevitable decision taken well before AFCON 2019."