Zambia has had many expatriate national football team coaches. The most well known of them is Croatian Ante Buselic, who took the country to the African Cup of Nations finals in 1974, but Frenchman, Herve Renard, who led the team in scooping the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 has swept all previous coaches off the perch. In recognition of his success, the Zambian government recently accorded him permanent residence.
Announcing the granting of Renard's new immigration status – so that he does not have to renew his work permit – Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili said:
If he wants to become a permanent resident, the Zambian Government is willing to do that for him and that is why we have decided to give him a resident permit as a way of our appreciation for his contribution to football development in the country.
On one citizen media website the issue of granting permanent residency to a coach who once deserted Zambia for neighbouring Angola, has assumed political overtones. Dual citizenship is controversial because most Zambians abroad want it included in the new constitution being drawn up, but Renard's status has effectively short-circuited the procedure.
Clearly misunderstanding what permanent residence and dual citizenship are, user canadian wrote:
Do these politicians check their records before they utter anything to the media? This is a contractiction [contradiction] to what Sata has been saying about Dual Citizenship. Zambia needs this clause to be implemented because the benefits outweigh what people without any idea of what they are talking about. It is more than contracting a soccer coach when it comes to the Zambians abroad and the investments they will bring to the country.
A reader going by the name harold wrote:
Such privileges without procedures are worrying.Renard purely came here for employment as a coach, as many of other people have come, supposed all who are in Zambia do the best are we going to adopt them,
He was bought a car worthy 350m [about US$ 78,000], with this poverty in Zambia should we worst money serving one person. we know government pay his rentals and all sorts of expenses.
Sometimes i fail to understand why we still separate ba zungu [white people] to Zambians. Honestly we as youths we lost completely no direction what we learn and what is happening contrary to section in our brain act no foresigh
You know what the law has an annoying habit, of coming back to bite you especially for those politicians who like cutting corners like buffoon Kambwili, remember this is the month in which a Rwandan priest was deported for not having a permit; if the priest’s Zambian members of his congregation in Chipata asked the PF [Patriotic Front] gov’t [government] why they didn’t waive that and let him stay; how would Kambwili answer that question
Expressing good wishes for Renard, Ndanji Wayaya wrote:
Well Done HR for the AFCON. Please do it again in 2013. With permits, citizenship etc you won our hearts stay in Zambia for as long as you want. Just formalize your stay. Forget about people`s comments. Human beings will always complain.
Even when we won the AFCON 2012. They complained that it went into penalties. It was just a lottery. They wanted goals in regular play.
The story also attracted attention on Twitter.
Another user reported the honour:
@modoubeyai: Frenchman Herve Renard has been given permanent residency in Zambia in recognition of his 2012 Africa Cup success.
One user went further by giving Renard a Zambian middle name:
@DJLBCZambia: So have decided, ladies and gentle Herve ranard's Zambian middle name is “Madalitso” [Blessings]