Gabon's Didier Ndong signs for French side FC Lorient

Didier Ndong
Didier Ndong

Gabon international Didier Ndong signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Ligue 1 side FC Lorient, the French club announced on Saturday.

The 20-year-old midfielder played with Tunisian outfit CS SFaxien during the 2012-2013 season, and will represent Gabon in the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

The former CMS Libreville player will arrive at the Brittany club after the Nations Cup which starts in Equatorial Guinea on 17 January.

Ndong is excited about the prospect of playing in Europe for the first time in his career.

"It's always a dream to get to Europe," Ndong told Lorient's website.

"I cannot wait to discover Ligue 1. This is my first experience in Europe and I think Lorient will make me progress.

"I am here to discover and learn. I'm only 20 but I will use my qualities to serve Lorient."

Ndong also admitted that his Gabon international team-mate, Bruno Ecuele Manga, helped him decide on the move to Lorient. Manga played at the French club for four years, before moving to English Championship side Cardiff City.

"He was captain here and he talked a lot with me. He said it was a good club.

"He loved his time here and was very loved. Bruno loves FC Lorient and thinks it was the best choice for me," Ndong added.

Lorient coach Sylvain Ripoli said they had been keen to sign Didier Ndong before the promising player joins up with Gabon.

"He's an all-rounder who can play attacking midfield or defensive. We felt that it was important to sign him before the Cup of Nations," Ripoll said.

Ndong is in confident mood ahead of the Nations Cup. He believes the quality of players in Gabon's squad means they should be seen as realistic contenders.

"Given the number that we have, we will try to win the CAN [Africa Cup of Nations].

"Gabon is desperate to qualify for the semifinals. But given our recent performances, we have the team to win. We are not too far from the top teams."

Gabon will be in Group A at the Africa Cup of Nations finals, alongside the hosts Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso and Congo.