Monday Jun 17, 2019. 12:00
Morocco national team coach Herve Renard says the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will be a key tournament for the future of football on the continent.
This year’s edition of the AFCON is the first to move into the middle of the year – and therefore avoid the issue of African players in major leagues leaving their clubs for an international tournament in the middle of a season – as well as introducing an expanded format of 24 teams (up from the previous number of 16 qualifiers).
“I think both decisions are good for football in Africa. To play in June is much better, even if we could have problems with weather in some parts of Africa,” Renard is quoted by The Scotsman.
“But in terms of relationships with clubs in Europe or anywhere around the world, it is very important because things got complicated previously.”
Renard is looking to become the first man to lead three different nations to AFCON glory, having taken Zambia and the Ivory Coast to the title in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
He has also made his mark in Morocco by guiding them back to the World Cup last year – their first appearance at the global tournament in two decades.
“This will be my seventh tournament,” added the Frenchman. “In terms of the image of Africa, this continent needs to improve because all around the world these days they can watch the tournament.
“This is a key tournament for our football – and I say our football because I consider I am part of Africa too.
“I have been on this continent for so many years now and sometimes I don’t like the image we give to everybody so if we want more positive comments about us to come from other parts of the world then we need to improve.”