Salomon Kalou of Ivory Coast during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 17:00
Ivory Coast veteran Gervinho insists he and fellow attacker Salomon Kalou will bring experience to the national team ahead of their World Cup qualifiers.
Gervinho and Kalou both missed the Elephants’ last competitive match, a 3-2 defeat at home to Guinea in qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations back in June.
In their absence, coach Marc Wilmots fielded Maxwell Cornet, Giovanni Sio and Seydou Doumbia in attack.
Yet the old guard is back for the Ivory Coast’s back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Gabon on Saturday and Tuesday, with Kalou and Gervinho sharing the better part of 200 caps between them.
"We [Gervinho and Kalou] are not here to play the heroes. We came to bring a plus to the team,” said Gervinho earlier in the week.
“It's normal that people rely on us because we have played for a long time in this team.
“The last time I was not there for personal problems. The defeat against Guinea is something that happens.”
The former Arsenal player added, “We did not come to tell the difference between us and the others.
“We are here to bring our experience to the team. We need to build a team that will qualify us for the World Cup.”
The Elephants will face Gabon in Libreville and Bouake on September 2 and 5 respectively.