First called up by Côte d'Ivoire for the Kirin Cup in May 2008 in Japan, the country in which he played club football for two years, Seydou Doumbia is the west African side’s rising star. Recently acquired by CSKA Moscow, the 22-year-old forward was included in his country’s final FIFA World Cup™ squad at Bakary Kone’s expense, evidence of the regard he is held in by national coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. And the Swede is not alone, as former coach Vahid Halilhodzic also rated him highly, regularly pairing him with Didier Drogba in attack.

Born in Yamoussoukro in 1987, the diminutive goal machine started out at ASEC Mimosas, like many of his international team-mates. A transfer to fellow Ivorian club Denguele saw him begin to hit the net on a regular basis, an attribute that precipitated a move to Japan. While his scoring record in the Land of the Rising Sun could not be described as prolific, Doumbia was able to improve other physical and tactical aspects of his game. He continued to develop, and when Young Boys Berne brought him back to Europe to add some sparkle to their attack, he hit the ground running.

In the space of two incredible years in Switzerland, Doumbia would become one of the most feared strikers in the Super League, following up a 20-goal maiden season with a remarkable 30-goal haul in 2009/10. Player of the Year and twice top goalscorer in the Swiss Championship, he propelled his club to two successive runners-up spots.  The most free-scoring African forward currently playing in Europe, ahead of Drogba, Doumbia has also been able to replicate his club success at international level, grabbing a first-ever goal for his country in a friendly match versus Germany in November 2009. The defences of Group B rivals Argentina, Korea Republic and Greece have been warned...