Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Zambia’s Herve Renard accepts blame for draw
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Zambia manager Herve Renard takes the blame for stalemate against Ethiopia in their opening group game
Zambia head coach Herve Renard admitted the best of the defending Africa Cup of Nations champions may only be seen in the knockout stages after drawing with 10-man Ethiopia.
The 2012 champions faced the lowest-ranked side in the competition, but despite goalkeeper Jemal Tassel’s 35th-minute red card, struggled to assert their dominance.
With expectation amongst supporters understandably higher after last year’s success, Renard, who laid the blame firmly on himself, apologised after the match.
“Our fans expected more than we did today, and they are right. Today, it was the fault of the coach,” said the Frenchman.
“I did not prepare the team well to start the competition – we’ll see how things go after the third game.”
“I would like to congratulate Ethiopia for a very good performance. I’m not surprised – I said ‘be careful of this team, they are able to play very good football’.
“Today, we have to thank our goalkeeper – without Kennedy M’weene it could have been a very, very bad result.”
Ethiopia secured their first AFCON point since 1982 but may have taken all three after Saldin Said missed a penalty and had a chance bounce over the crossbar.
Despite the missed penalty, Ethiopia’s coach Sewnet Bishaw was pleased but felt Tassel should have stayed on the pitch.
“I’m happy as we missed a penalty and drew. This is our first experience after 31 years so, as you see, it was fantastic.
“The players have shown their characters and shown the rest of the world they can play football.
“The goalkeeper also has to defend. He went to defend the ball, and shouldn’t have been red-carded.”