Wilmots recruits Cornet, Fofana for Cote d’Ivoire | Kwesé

Wilmots recruits Cornet, Fofana for Cote d’Ivoire

Wilmots recruits Cornet, Fofana for Cote d’Ivoire

12:45 SAST | 04 Apr 2017

The Côte d’Ivoire have bolstered their ranks with the addition of attackers Maxwel Cornet and Seko Fofana, with Marc Wilmots revealing that both players have agreed to commit their international futures to the Elephants.

The 2015 African champions appointed former Belgium boss Wilmots in March to replace Michel Dussuyer, who left his post after a miserable title defence in Gabon during the Nations Cup earlier this year.

Few were convinced by Wilmots’ appointment, with the 48-year-old widely perceived to have failed to make the most of an astonishing generation of Belgian players, only managing to take them to the quarter-finals of the European Championships last summer where they were eliminated by Wales.

Former Schalke, Standard Liege and Girondins de Bordeaux midfielder Wilmots has wasted little time in swelling the Elephants’ national pool, having watched on as his new charges beat Russia 2-0 before facing off against Senegal in a match that was suspended due to fan trouble.

His first recruit was Fofana, with the Ivorian Federation releasing a statement on its official website, confirming the Udinese midfielder has opted to represent the Elephants, having previously featured for France at youth level.

“The Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire’s squad has been enriched by the arrival of Seko Mohamed Fofana,” the statement read.

“This 22-year-old dual-nationality Franco-Ivorian, who is currently playing for Udinese as a midfielder, has chosen to don the orange jersey of the Ivorian selection.”

Fofana was signed by Manchester City in 2013 after spells with Paris FC and Lorient FC, but he left the Etihad Stadium for Udine in 2016 following loan spells with Fulham and SC Bastia.

The federation later confirmed that Wilmots had also succeeded in convincing Olympique Lyonnais’ 20-year-old forward to opt for the west Africans rather than hold out for a future with the French senior side.

Versatile Cornet has been a regular for Lyon this season, featuring 26 times in Ligue 1, of which 16 outings have come from the start. He’s scored four goals and contributed two assists, having also featured for France at every youth level from U16 to U21.

The nation’s drive to boost its squad with players who have represented other countries in the international arena is not an initiative exclusive to Wilmots’ tenure, with his predecessor having succeeded in convincing England international Wilfried Zaha to turn out for the Côte d’Ivoire.

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