Geoffrey Kondogbia has completed his international switch in favour of Central African Republic (C.A.R) and is currently in Ivory Coast to face the Elephants in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Friday.
The 25-year-old midfielder, who plays for Valencia in Spain, was born in France to Central African parents and has represented France junior teams as well as the senior, although in unofficial matches.
When C.A.R officials approached him in 2015 he bluntly declined to pledge his international future to an African team, as he was hoping to seal his spot with Les Bleus, which never happened.
Didier Deschamps did not hand him a call up, prompting C.A.R Football Association to launch another persuasive bid which the former Monaco and Inter Milan player eventually accepted.
“The major thing we did was to convince him he would get happiness and consideration here in Africa more than in France. We knew he was not happy in France even though he is a great player,” C.A.R coach Raoul Savoy told ACLsports.
“He is having a good time and has been dancing. We hope he gets a good game against Ivory Coast.”
Both teams are tied at three points in Group H, with Guinea leading the lot on six points.