Two more French youth internationals commit to Ivory Coast

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Jean-Philipe Gbamin
Defender Jean-Philipe Gbamin has played for France at junior levels but has chosen to play for Ivory Coast the country of his birth

Ivory Coast have persuaded two more French junior internationals to commit to playing for them at senior level.

Defender Jean-Philippe Gbamin, 21, plays in Germany for Mainz and was born in Ivory Coast.

The other player is Chelsea's Jeremie Boga, 20, on loan at Spanish side Granada, whose parents are Ivorian.

"These new players can only help strengthen the squad under Marc Wilmots," Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) boss Augustin Sidy Diallo said.

"They will help build a competitive Ivorian squad for years to come."

Both played for France up to under-19 level but under Fifa regulations can change their allegiance as they are dual nationals and have not played a senior competitive international for the team.

The duo join former England international Wilfried Zaha, and two other French youth internationals Maxwel Cornet and Seko Fofana as players who have been recruited by the Ivorian federation in recent months.

All four players are likely to feature in Wilmots' first squad in June when the two-time African champions play the Netherlands in a friendly.

The Elephants then open their qualifying campaign for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a home match against Guinea on 9 June.

In August, they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign away in Gabon. The Ivory Coast head Group C with four points from their first two matches.

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