The "spoiled" Frenchman is by far Africa’s highest paid coach, while his staff receive higher salaries than most of Africa’s coaches.
Rabat – How much does Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) pay Herve Renard for his services with the Moroccan football team? The answer may further irritate his rapidly expanding circus of critics.
Ahead of last year’s World Cup in Russia, reports indicated that Renard was by far the highest paid coach in Africa. At the time, Renard was reportedly paid MAD 800,000 (€ 80,000) per month.
However, recently updated figures by Al Massae, the same Arabic language newspaper that revealed last year’s statistics, show that Morocco almost doubled the Frenchman’s salary ahead of the ongoing continental football contest. The current number, €120,000, maintained Renard in his, by now familiar, status as the African coach with the highest remuneration, and royal treatment.
Far behind Renard stood the now sacked Javier Aguirre of Egypt (€108,000), Cameroon’s Clarence Seedorf (€96,000), South Africa’s Stuart Baxter (€62,300), and Algeria’s Djamel Belmadi (€50,000).
Renard’s Assistants better paid than most head coaches
Al Massae also revealed that the coaching staff of the Atlas Lions was overall the most “spoiled” at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (CAN). Renard’s two assistants, the French Patrice Beaumelle and the Moroccan Mustapha Hadji, were more handsomely paid than most head coaches at the tournament.
Beaumelle’s reported €55,000 salary puts him well above Algeria’s Belmadi, whereas Hadji’s €30,000 put him on equal footing with Guinea’s Belgian head coach, Paul Put, who according to the Guinean football federation is the fifth highest paid coach in Africa.
Besides the glaring disconnect between the Moroccan staff’s princely treatment and its meager results, the most arresting detail for Atlas Lions fans may be that Beaumelle’s salary is superior to that of Belmadi, who has so far had a fabulous CAN with Algeria.
(Belmadi has done wonders with the Algerian team since coming on board in August of last year. Under his tenure, Algeria has put to rest the series of disappointments that followed their brilliant world Cup in Brazil five years ago. Algeria, now the grand continental favorite, is playing today, July 11, in the CAN quarterfinals against Ivory Coast. Whatever happens in today’s game, though, there is already a robust sense among the whopping majority of CAN watchers that Belmadi’s Algeria has produced the most tactically mature and ruthlessly clinical football in Egypt, something many Moroccan fans expected from their Renard-coached Lions.)
The news of Renard’s stupendous salary demands comes as Morocco’s spirit-dumping elimination from the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations is quickly turning into a live trial for both the players and the coaching staff.
Increasingly—and predictably—the team’s head coach has become the living embodiment of the monumental failure in Egypt, with questions now flying from everywhere to scrutinize the massive disparity between his priceless treatment and his lukewarm results with the Moroccan national team.
With this Al Massae report, many critics may feel further emboldened to ask for radical changes in high places of Moroccan football. But while Renard’s job is obviously on the line, the Frenchman has so far reacted with surprising composure.
“I have a contract with the [Moroccan] federation until 2021, and I intend to honor it,” he said immediately after the last-16 debacle against Benin. Most recently, he has said that he is “taking the necessary time” to reflect on his future with the team.
Will Renard stay? Months ago, Moroccans’ response to that question would be an energetic, “He should” or a gigantic, wholehearted, “YES! We love our coach, for God’s sake…”
This time around, though, almost no one, even Renard’s harshest critics or loudest supporters (and they are not many at this point), seems rushing to say the obvious. Not that he should stay, but that yes, it has been a lovely journey, but can we please part ways here, to avoid hard feelings should this last longer than it really should?
So Renard is left alone in his thinking, with most Moroccans hoping, and critics inaudibly but no less aggressively demanding that he make the right choice.
Renard seems to have heard it all, the silent entreaties that he not make this more awkward than it already is. With the unmistakable uneasiness among Moroccan fans and the sinking feeling of an establishing pattern of what ifs and disastrous near-misses, it will be of little surprise if, in the following days or weeks, both the federation and Renard resort to severing ties.
Renard could say for example: “Everyone could see that we were the better team in all of our matches; that we were and deserved being among the most serious contenders for this year’s CAN; that we played with our hearts out but lacked the bit of luck that could have made the difference, all the difference. I am sorry to have disappointed you, but I am proud to have been part of this amazing journey. I feel that it is perhaps time to try something else with somebody else. Thank you for everything.”
Or he may not.
But should he, Moroccan football fans will most probably call for a “man of the country” to manage the Atlas Lions, some sort of a Moroccan version of Belmadi– to inspire rupture and change where a series of the most kingly treated European coaches have failed.
But who will be Morocco’s Belmadi? Again Rachid Taoussi or Badou Zaki, whose good but not entirely satisfying results paved the way for Renard’s appointment in the first place? Or rather Jamal Sellami, the coach of the local national team, whose CHAN exploits remain the sole, tiny silver lining in four decades of fiascos of successive Moroccan teams?
“To stay or not to stay,” that was Renard’s question months ago as his team’s underwhelming but brave World Cup performance revealed glimpses of fissures in the FRMF-Renard romance. But times have changed, and very dramatically so. “To resign or be pushed out,” is the new question.