Gervinho (pictured left) is a player who can make a name for himself in South Africa.
By Alex Labidou
Much of the Ivory Coast’s World Cup hopes have been placed solely on the feet of world class striker Didier Drogba but there might another player that opposed teams might have to worry about.
Not many outside of France know of the exploits of Gervais Yao “Gervinho” Kouassi. The 23-year old winger was a starlet for Ligue 1 side Le Mans before making an eight million euro move to Lille last summer. There, the Ivorian led a surprising side that competed for the Ligue 1 title and defied all expectations by qualifying for a Europa League spot.
Technically skilled on the ball, Kouassi was given the name Gervinho by his Brazilian coach at ASEC Mimosas in Abidjan. His pace and dribbling ability reminds many scouts of Robinho and he has drawn the interest of Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa presents Gervinho with a chance to break out of the shadows of a team that features Droba, Salomon Kalou and Kolo Toure to name a few. Expected to start, many will finally have opportunity to watch the fast-paced winger torment defenders. The Ivory Coast’s manager, Sven Goran Eriksson expects big things from his right sided forward.
“I like him, he is a very good player, “said Eriksson during PUMA’s African Unity Friendly. “He is quick and has a good technique. He’s a fighter.”
There should be heightened interest in the Gervinho if he can help Ivory Coast deliver on their grand expectations.