He may not be a regular for Côte d'Ivoire, but Steve Gohouri is nonetheless set to experience the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, despite a relatively unremarkable season at Wigan Athletic. The Treichville-born defender, raised in Paris, will represent his country at a major tournament for just the second time, having taken part in the 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
Gohouri came through the reputed youth system at Bretigny-sur-Orge, in the Parisian suburbs, before making the step up to Paris Saint-Germain, where he spent two unproductive seasons. Then began a nomadic period that would see him play in Israel (Bnei Yehuda), Switzerland (Yverdon-Sport, followed by Young Boys), Italy (Bologna) and Liechtenstein (Vaduz) over the space of seven years. It was not until 2007 that he would properly establish himself at a big-name European side, at the age of 26. The athletic Ivorian enjoyed two good seasons in Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach, before being sidelined at the club and subsequently released. His next stop was England, fulfilling a childhood dream.
He arrived in the Premier League during this year’s January transfer window, and several solid performances in Wigan’s back line earned him a two-year contract in May, a spectacular injury-time goal against Hull City a few days before having done his chances of a permanent deal no harm. Eriksson, well versed in the ways of English football, saw enough in Gohouri’s displays to reassure him that he offers a reliable defensive back-up option for The Elephants in case of suspension or injury.