Renard relishing task of defending Zambia's crown

TRISTAN HOLME Associated Press Published:

NELSPRUIT, South Africa (AP) -- Along with the footballing challenge, Zambia coach Herve Renard will be relishing the adrenalin rush on Friday when his team's defense of its African Cup of Nations title comes up against continental powerhouse Nigeria.

Far from daunted by the prospect, the Frenchman made it clear in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that the pulse-raising contest in Group C at Mbombela Stadium was just what football coaches thrive on.

Renard said "this is why we are doing our job, because we need a challenge -- we need adrenalin."

The French coach also highlighted what he believes to be a narrowing gap between Africa's big teams and the outsiders, having experienced the trend at first hand on Monday when 10-man Ethiopia held his Zambia side to a 1-1 draw.