Kessie Franck Yannick of Ivory Coast (L) vies for the ball with Kondogbia Geoffrey (R) from Central African Republic during the African Cup of Nations CAN 2019 qualification football match between Ivory Coast and Central African Republic, at the Stade de la paix in Bouake on October 12, 2018.
Tuesday Oct 16, 2018. 09:14
Valencia midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has spoken of his great pride at making his debut for the Central Africa Republic this past weekend.
The 25-year-old had previously represented France’s senior team, but as none of his five caps were in any official competitions, he was allowed to change his international allegiance.
On Friday, October 12, he made his debut for CAR in their 4-0 loss away to Ivory Coast in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Despite the negative result, the match was a special one for Kondogbia.
“To play in this match for me was a matter of great pride. I felt many, many, emotions,” explained the French-born player.
“From the moment that I arrived in Bangui, I had many images come to mind: where I came from to be here, where my parents grew up, and many other things.
“My family and friends were not in agreement, probably because they thought that playing for France would give me more advantages.
“So I picked the easier route, trying to ignore my dream. But this is what I have always wanted.
“And when it became clear that France would not be calling me up any more, even those who initially were opposed understood and allowed me to leave."
Kondogbia is expected to feature for CAR again when they host the Elephants in the return match in Bangui today, kicking off at 16h00 CAT.