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Valentin Gnahoua (born September 29, 1994) is a French professional gridiron football defensive end for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was the first overall pick by the Tiger-Cats in the 2019 European CFL Draft.

Valentin Gnahoua
No. 77     Hamilton Tiger-Cats
77, Valentin Gnahoua, June 22, 2019.jpg
Gnahoua before a Tiger-Cats game in 2019
Born: (1994-09-29) September 29, 1994 (age 25)
Le Mans, France
Career information
CFL statusGlobal
Position(s)Defensive end
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight235 lb (107 kg)
Career history
As player
20172018Berlin Rebels
2019–presentHamilton Tiger-Cats
Career stats
Valentin Gnahoua
Medal record
Men’s American football
Representing  France
World Games
Gold medal – first place 2017 Wrocław Team
European Championship
Bronze medal – third place 2014 Austria Team
European Junior Championship
Bronze medal – third place 2013 Germany Team

Early yearsEdit

Gnahoua began playing American football in 2011, joining a local semi-pro team, the Caimans du Mans, as a sixteen-year old.[1] He was drawn to the sport after watching a National Football League game on television earlier that year.[2]

In 2016, he arrived in Canada, playing one season of collegiate football for the McGill Redmen before a sudden increase in international student tuition forced him to return to France.[3]

Professional careerEdit

Berlin RebelsEdit

He rejoined the Caimans in 2017, playing well enough early on in the campaign to get signed by the Berlin Rebels of the German Football League (GFL) midway through the 2017 GFL season.[4] He recorded 47 tackles and nine sacks during his two seasons with the Rebels.[2]

Hamilton Tiger-CatsEdit

In 2019, he was announced as one of the 18 European players invited to the 2019 CFL Combine in Toronto.[5] The following month, in April, he was selected by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the first overall pick in the inaugural European CFL draft, part of commissioner Randy Ambrosie's initiative to grow the league's presence internationally.[6][7] He began the season as a member of the practice squad,[8] but made his debut during their week 9 matchup against the BC Lions on August 10, recovering an onside kick that led to a second-quarter field goal in the 35-34 victory.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

His father was a professional association football (soccer) player who was a member of the Ivory Coast national football team and played professionally in France, where Valentin was born.[2]


  1. ^ Kadler, Anne (January 1, 2019). "Valentin Gnahoua verlängert in Berlin" (in German). Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c O'Leary, Chris (April 11, 2019). "Anticipation mounts for Thursday's European draft – Valentin Gnahoua can't wait". Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  3. ^ Barnes, Dan (April 9, 2019). "Interview with Tiger-Cats has French defensive lineman excited about CFL's European draft". Journal Pioneer. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  4. ^ "BERLIN REBELS GFL SENIORS- VERSTÄRKUNG FÜR DIE DEFENSE" (in German). German Football League. June 22, 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  5. ^ "CFL invites 18 players from international countries to national combine". 3 Down Nation. March 14, 2019. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Ralph, Dan (April 11, 2019). "Valentin Gnahoua top pick by Hamilton Tiger-Cats in CFL European draft". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  7. ^ "French DL Valentin Gnahoua 1st player selected in CFL European Draft". April 11, 2019. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  8. ^ Smith, Josh (June 11, 2019). "Assessing the Ticats training camp cuts and regular season roster". 3 Down Nation. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  9. ^ Ralph, Dan (August 10, 2019). "Brandon Banks' late TD grab rallies Hamilton Tiger-Cats past B.C. Lions 35-34". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 29, 2019.

External linksEdit