Saudi Arabia's stunning victory over Argentina in their World Cup opener on Tuesday (November 22) marked the most recent international honour for team manager Harve Renard.
Prior to the stunning World Cup victory against Lionel Messi’s squad, the Frenchman was the head of Morocco’s national team in the 2018 World Cup.
Renard, 54, is a former football player from Aix-les-Bains, who rode through his career’s highs and lows. His stint with the Saudi national football team, which started in 2019, showed promise early, and a crowning glory for his extraordinary coaching career.
In March 2022, he led Saudi Arabia to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In the process, he became the first foreign-born manager with the most wins (18) in the nation's history.
Saudi Arabia’s win over favourites Argentina in their Qatar World Cup thriller on Tuesday, however, is far cry from Renard’s difficult moments. At Cambridge United, he was fired with the team in the Football League's bottom two.
Following his unremarkable performance at Cambridge, Renard coached teams in Vietnam and France before accepting his first position as head coach of a national team with Zambia.
In 2010, he led the Zambia squad to their first quarterfinal at the Africa Cup of Nations in 14 years, but he left to become the new coach of neighbouring Angola.
After returning to Zambia via USM Alger in Algeria in less than 18 months, Renard astonished the football world in 2012 by leading the Copper Bullets to their first Afcon victory.
In the championship match, they defeated an Ivory Coast team — including the Toure brothers and Didier Drogba via penalties. As coach at East Anglia, one of the 14 losses he suffered in 26 games came against Boston United in 2004.
Renard was born on September 30, 1968 in Aix-les-Bains, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. His maternal grandparents were from Poland. From 1983 to 1998, Renard played as a defender for French sides AS Cannes, Stade de Vallauris and SC Draguignan.
After retiring as a professional player, Renard began his coaching career with SC Draguignan in 1999, leaving in 2001.
In 2002 and 2003, he worked as Claude Le Roy's assistant at Chinese club Shanghai Cosco. In 2004, he took over as manager of English team Cambridge United after first joining the organization to work as Le Roy's coach.
In 2004, he took over as manager of the Vietnamese club Song Da Nam Dinh, but left after a while. He joined AS Cherbourg as manager in 2005 and left in 2007. He then worked as Claude Le Roy's assistant for the Ghanaian national team.
He was chosen to lead the Zambian national team in May 2008. For the first time in 14 years, he guided Zambia to the quarterfinal stage of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
In July 2014, Renard was appointed as manager of the Ivory Coast national team. He was manager at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. He won the competition, becoming the first coach to win two Africa Cup of Nations with different countries.
In May 2015, Renard became manager of French club Lille. On 11 November 2015, he was sacked after getting only 13 points in 13 league games.
Renard then became Morocco manager at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in February 2016. In October 2016 he was linked with the vacant Algeria national team job. In November 2017, he qualified Morocco to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, their first since 1998.
Later that month, he signed a new contract, until 2022. In July 2019 the Moroccan team was eliminated from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, with Renard taking responsibility for the "shock exit”. He quit his post a few days later, on July 15, 2019.
Later in July 2019, he became the manager of Saudi Arabia, the first Frenchman to do so. On September 10, 2019, Renard managed his first official match against Yemen in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification.
In Qatar, he is now celebrating his victory after defeating a tournament favourite. Renard's illustrious career as a manager now spans 23 years and 13 teams in nine different nations.