Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Renard still loves Zambia despite exit
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Herve Renard says that he still loves his Zambia side despite making a premature exit
Herve Renard says that he only has love for his Zambian side as the holders crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations after drawing with underdogs Burkina Faso.
Zambia became the first defending champions to be knocked out in the first round of the competition in 21 years after being held to a stalemate by the group winners.
But the Chipolopolo coach had only praise to say for his team who failed to win any of their three group matches.
“It’s better to have won something in your life than always qualify for the quarter-finals, but never win anything,” Renard said.
“Everybody is sad but my players did their maximum, and I’m very proud of them. It’s not the end of the world.
“I loved my team tonight, I can’t play with eight defenders. If there is someone who is responsible [for elimination] then it’s me, not my players.”
However, Burkina Faso made history in their own right on Tuesday evening, as they progress out of the group stages for the first time ever since 1948.
Burkina Faso’s defence held out in Nelspruit and the Stallion’s Belgian-born coach Paul Pot praised his side’s performance.
“We believed we could go further in this. It’s a night of history for Burkina Faso,” the coach said.
“We had double motivation being close to qualification and playing against the champions. I told the players this chance might never come again.”
Burkina Faso, outsiders in the competition, will now play Togo or Tunisia in the quarter-finals on Sunday.