Born: 25 February 1982, Kinshasa, DR Congo
Former clubs: Amiens SC, Stade Rennais, RCD Espanyol, AS Saint-Etienne, Toulouse
A buccaneering left-back who is both a strong attacker and a relentless, uncompromising defender, Herita Ilunga quickly settled into life at West Ham United following his arrival in summer 2008.
A DR Congo international with extensive experience in both the French league and in European football, Ilunga showed his talents during an explosive first season in the Premier League.
Although a series of injuries slowed the African during his second campaign with the Hammers, there is no doubting Ilunga's pedigree.
Turned his loan move into a permanent four-year contract in summer 2009…Made 19 Premier League appearances, 16 of them starts...Suffered a jaw injury in the 2-0 opening-day victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers on 15 August 2009…Returned 3-2 home Premier League defeat by Liverpool on 19 September 2009…Had the second half of the season affected by a long-standing back problem…Scored on his only League Cup appearance of the season in the 3-1 third-round defeat at Bolton Wanderers on 22 September 2009…Totalled 20 appearances in all competitions, scoring once…Booked twice.
Signed for West Ham United on a season-long loan from Toulouse on 3 September 2008…Made his Premier League debut in 3-2 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on 13 September 2008…Was an ever-present from 13 September 2008 until the season's end, making 35 Premier League appearances…Made four FA Cup starts, scoring in the 3-0 home third-round win over Barnsley and the 1-1 home fifth-round draw with Middlesbrough…Totalled 39 appearances and two goals in all competitions…Booked three times.
Capped more than 20 times by DR Congo at senior level...Appeared at the 2004 CAF Africa Cup of Nations…Featured in FIFA World Cup qualifying for both the 2006 and 2010 finals…Scored his first full international goal in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Egypt in Cairo on 1 September 2008.
Before West Ham United
Moved to France as a child, joining Amiens SC at the age of 13...Moved to Stade Rennais at the age of 17…Spent three seasons with Stade Rennais before joining RCD Espanyol in Spain in 2002…Moved back to France in summer of 2003 to join AS Saint-Etienne…Made 136 league appearances for AS Saint-Etienne over a four-year span…Moved to Toulouse for a single season in summer 2007…Appeared for Toulouse against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League qualifying round…Made six UEFA Cup appearances for Toulouse.
Any other business
Involved in the Congo Now! campaign to ensuring lasting peace in his homeland.