France-born Joris Gnagnon eyes Ivory Coast debut

Joris Gnanon
Joris Gnagnon is a former French under-20 international centre back but could make his debut for Ivory Coast in Mali

Former France youth international Joris Gnagnon could make his debut for Ivory Coast away to Mali in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

The defender, who plays for French side Rennes, is part of a 24-man Elephants squad for the game on 6 October in Bamako.

"It will be a dream come true to finally play for Ivory Coast," he said.

Gnagnon was previously called up for the friendly against the Netherlands in June, but missed out due to injury.

The 20-year-old centre-back decided to play for Ivory Coast, despite having represented France at Under-20 level.

Elsewhere, Max-Alain Gradel and Wilfried Zaha are both left out of the 24-man squad through injury, while striker Seydou Doumbia will be assessed by team doctors after suffering a knock on club duty in Portugal.

The Elephants manager Marc Wilmots also handed recalls to Swansea's Wilfried Bony and fit-again Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia.

Wilfried Bony
Wilfried Bony is recalled to the Ivory Coast squad following his return to Swansea

Bony has not played for his country since the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and Kodjia's last appearance was the 2-0 friendly win in Russia back in March.

Ivory Coast's hopes of reaching a fourth straight World Cup took a knock when beaten 2-1 at home by Gabon early this month.

But they will move closer to qualifying in Group C on Matchday 5, if they win in Mali and Morocco and Gabon draw on 7 October in Casablanca.

The two-time African champions lead the group with seven points, one more than Morocco while Gabon have five.

Ivory Coast squad:

Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (TP Mazembe DR Congo) Axel Kacou (Tours, France), Horthalin Blé Zadi (Africa Sports)

Defenders: Serge Aurier (Tottenham, England), Eric Bailly (Manchester United, England), Lamine Koné (Sunderland, England), Wilfried Kanon (Ado Den Haag, Netherlands), Adama Traoré (Goztepe, Turkey), Joris Gnagnon (Rennes, France), Ghislain Konan (Vitoria Guimarães, Portugal)

Midfielders: Cheick Doukouré (Levante, Spain), Franck Kessié (AC Milan, Italy), Geoffroy Serey Dié (FC Basle, Switzerland), Jean Michaël Séri (Nice, France), Seko Fofana (Udinese, Italy), Sékou Sanogo (Young Boys, Switzerland), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz, Germany)

Forwards: Maxwel Cornet (Lyon, France), Gervinho (Hebei Fortune, China), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Seydou Doumbia (Sporting CP, Portugal), Roger Assalé (Young Boys, Switzerland), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa, England), Wilfried Bony (Swansea, England)

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