The official documents might suggest that Yannick Boli was born on 13 January 1988 in the Parisian suburb of St-Maur-des-Fosses, but Yannick Boli the footballer very definitely came to life in Amiens on 6 May this year.
That evening, the 20-year-old picked the ball up in midfield and slalomed through the opposition to give his troubled team a berth in the French Cup final and a timely morale boost. Since then, the capital outfit have secured their top-flight status, with Boli a constant feature in Paul Le Guen's squad and now eager to continue his upward trajectory.
"That goal will always be engraved in my memory," he told FIFA.com. " . At the same time, nothing's been achieved and it will take a lot more work to hold down a regular place."
That seems undeniable given that Boli is the sole survivor of PSG's 2006 French Under-18 Championship-winning side not to have been offered professional terms. Hurt by that perceived slight at the start of the season, he promised to toil even harder in order to win over the club's officials.
Boli's efforts to impress have received support from some notable sources, with his celebrated uncles standing right behind him. Former Lens forward Roger currently serves as his agent, in fact, while defender Basile represented France on the international stage and is still referred to in mythic terms at Olympique de Marseille.
"They give me lots of advice, both in terms of the way I
play and my life in general," explains Boli. "I'm
very close to my parents too and they push me to never be satisfied
with what I'm able to do. When you carry around such a famous
name, you always have to work harder than everyone else. I have
very clear targets in my head and I'll do everything I can to
The first of those targets is to make an impact at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 this August. "I'm lucky enough to have dual Franco-Ivorian nationality and I'm proud of my African roots," he says. "I've followed the Elephants a lot in the last few years and I feel there's an interesting situation there. Because of that, I didn't hesitate in choosing that country's shirt."
So far, he has not had the best of luck in confirming his decision, having been called up by Gerard Gili's Olympic side for the first time in March, only to be denied a dream debut on account of health problems. Next selected for a training camp between 20 and 30 May, Boli began to fear he would either be late or forced to miss the French Cup final on 24 May.
"I received a nice letter from the [Côte d'Ivoire Football] Association saying they'd let me prepare for that match," he says. "From Sunday onwards, I'll be on holiday and I'll go and visit the squad and the coach. I'll see if they still want me. From my point of view, it doesn't bother me at all to eat into my time off by taking part in this competition. It would give me immense pride. We can live through something huge together. ."
Gili would be unwise to overlook a player so evidently hungry. His thoughts preoccupied with all things Beijing, Boli has already filled himself in on the challenge awaiting the Elephants on Chinese soil. "I followed the draw and I know we'll be playing Argentina, Australia and Serbia in the first round," he says. "I don't know much about the Australians or the Serbs, but the Argentinians... they're a massive opponent." Not wanting to sound too intimidated, however, Boli quickly settles back into his laidback demeanour: "In one game, anything can happen. We can create an upset."
Meeting difficult challenges will hardly come as a culture shock
for the PSG man, who remains convinced that his club's torrid
Ligue 1 campaign will serve him well in the future. "I'm
sure I've grown up a bit quicker than other youngsters my
age," he explains. "When, each weekend, you prepare
yourself to fight for the survival of the club you love, you learn
so much more. Especially at PSG, with all the pressure that comes
The Parc des Princes side are now safe at last, of course, leaving Boli free to focus on the future: "If the coach gives me the chance to play on Saturday, even for just five minutes, I'll do everything to be able to lift the trophy. After that, I hope to be at the Olympic Games and go as far as possible. Lastly, I'm dreaming of turning professional and getting a decent amount of playing time next year. And at PSG, of course."