1 January 2013

Zambia: Renard Rated Sixth Best French Coach

CHIPOLOPOLO trainer Hervé Renard has been named sixth best French coach of 2012 by a popular France magazine 'France Football' while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger did not even make the top 10.

Fresh from picking up the Confederation for African Football (CAF) Coach-of-the-Year award after successfully leading Zambia to winning its Africa Cup title, Renard has continued getting recognition everywhere.

Renard's latest recognition follows another one made by the World Soccer magazine which rated him as the sixth best coach in the world.

The December 2012 issue of France Football magazine published the France player and manager of the year lists and is one of the country's most prestigious footballing awards that have been running since the 1960s.

The awards are basically equivalent to the PFA awards in Britain.

The British media are, however, adding malice to another French manager, Wenger, who has not made the Top-10 list after a torrid year with his club and beaten by the Africa champion coach.

On his return from picking up the CAF Coach-of-the-year Award, Renard refused to comment on the accolade, his biggest individual award so far, saying what mattered more was that Zambia was the team of the year and not his personal glorification.

"It's not important what I win, what is important is what Zambia wins. Zambia was voted team of the year in 2012 and that is what is important," Renard said.

Renard won the AFCON trophy without losing a match and also qualified Zambia to the 2013 AFCON finals which will be staged in South Africa later this month besides beating Ghana 1-0 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier and got a 3-0 win by default over Sudan, who used an ineligible player in their 2-0 win.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema took the 2012 Player-of-the-year Award, which he won last year and was given the award by world great footballer Zinedine Zidane.

The prestigious award is voted for by former winners including Franck Ribery, Michel Platini, Thierry Henry, Laurent Blanc, Didier Deschamps, Patrick Vieira, Samir Nasri and David Ginola among others.

Meanwhile, MTNFootball reports that Renard is crossed that Stopilla Sunzu has yet to join the Zambia squad after he was excused to process a UK visa.

It is believed the TP Mazembe star defender is on his way to signing for English Premier League side Reading. Sunzu has been excused from a training camp in Johannesburg that started on December 26 to allow him process his visa with the British High Commission in Lusaka.

Sources familiar with the situation told MTNFootball.com that Renard was not happy with the way the entire issue was being handled.

The sources said Renard is upset that the TP Mazembe defender is holed up in Lusaka and has lost four valuable days which he could have used productively to train with the rest of the team while awaiting his visa.

"The coach smells a rat with the way Sunzu's visa is being handled. They (Sunzu's handlers) knew the visa is done in Pretoria but they deposited the passport through Lusaka making the boy miss training time. So there is some panic because Reading might keep him and then we will have to involve FIFA to get him and the team will be weak as the boy has not trained well enough with the rest of his teammates," the source said.

Sunzu is due to leave for Reading this week to conclude a prospective £3 million deal with the struggling English Premier League side.

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