We’ve not had an episode of #HerveWatch for a long time, part of that is due to the fact that he is not in the cut and thurst of club management after being sacked as manager of Lille in November 2015 (which when you consider he was only appointed at the end of May was not all too much of an impressive stint) and the other part is down to time constraints/forgetting (delete where applicable).
But with just two World Cup Qualifiers left in the African Confederation what better place to pick up the story. It is quite apparent that Herve is more comfortable not only in a wine bar but also in the more serene environment of international management.
Morooco is the 4th African nation in which he has been installed as manager of after stints with Zambia (twice), Angola and Ivory Coast. The stints with Zambia and Ivory Coast have been particularly memorable as he has lifted the AFCON trophy with both of them in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
But this is not a Herve Renard history lesson it is more about the here and now and although AFCON success passed him by while in charge of the Atlas Lions he still has a change of going to his first World Cup as a manager next summer.
At present his Morocco side sit second in the group behind the Ivory Coast but it could have been very different had Morocco not dropped two points away at Mali last month. That draw in Bamako means that the Ivory Coast have now put themselves in the box seat.
It’s Renard’s former employers who face Mali tonight and a win would create a sudden death scenario for Morocco tonight when they face Gabon. If Morocco can come away with all three points and Ivory Coast do the same then it will set up another winner takes all clash in November.
Although two things that will go against Morocco here is the fact that a draw would be sufficient for Ivory Coast and also the fact Herve Renard is going to have to make the journey to West Africa and do it the hard way if he and his side are to make it to Russia next summer.
Dropped points has definitely been the story of Morocco’s campaign, from their first four games they have drawn three of them and only won one. What is more startling is the fact that they are yet to concede a goal in this qualification group.
But their robust nature in defence will count for very little if they don’t now pick up maximum points from these final two qualifiers. They may not be the favourites in which to do so but the FIFA World Cup will get a damn sight more sexy if they do.