The man who led Zambia to win the trophy last year in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea says that the current Super Eagles team do not impress him.
Defending champions Zambia take on Nigeria on January 25 in Nelspruit and Renard has been quick to say he has not been impressed with the Eagles under Stephen Keshi after he watched them labour to a 0-0 draw with Cape Verde last Wednesday.
“I think you saw Nigeria the other day against Cape Verde. Do you think it was the best this time?” Renard said.
“I don’t think so.”
But the Frenchman was not the only critic of the Eagles after the game against Cape Verde. Followers of the team including a former coach of the Eagles Chief Adegboye Onigbinde also spoke strongly on the performance of the team after that game.
The FIFA technical official said in an interview published in The PUNCH on Friday that both teams could not provide the kind of excitement expected from sides preparing for a high-profile championship such as the Nations Cup. Nigeria defeated Dutch clubside Rotterdam 1-0 in another friendly match played on Saturday in Faro, Portugal.
Nigeria and Zambia are set for an early Africa Cup of Nations showdown in their Group C match on January 25 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The other teams in the group are Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.
And Renard reiterated that he was also itching for payback time against the Eagles after the latter ejected them at the Angola 2010 quarterfinals.
“So on January 25 against Nigeria, it will be a different game, it will be a tough game,” the Frenchman said.
“But I can assure you we want to finish top of our group like in 2010 and 2012. It’s not easy, but we want go as far as possible because this team has fantastic team spirit.”
Meanwhile, Zambia are due to arrive in Nelspruit late on Sunday after they played their final warm-up game against Norway at the weekend. The Zambian Chipolopolo drew 0-0 with Norway.