Posted by: westafricanfootball | 03/06/2012

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE IVORIAN LIGUE 1 (PART ONE)

* ASI Abengourou is currently number 4 in “Poule A”. ASI is from Abengourou, a city with about 120 000 inhabitants in the eastern parts of the Ivory Coast. ASI is definitely the most difficult team to find information about. At the time of writing, I can only document that three players have featured in the league so far; defender Lamoudja Traoré (born 20.12.1987), formerly of ASC Ouragahio, experienced striker Blaise Tanoh Koffi (born 03.04.1982) and the talented Sana Soro.

Tanoh Koffi played for South African side Lamontville Golden Arrows FC in 2009-2010. Soro is an interesting player, most likely born in 1991. In October / November 2011, Soro was part of the Ivory Coast B national football team for the 2011 UEMOA Tournament.

* AFAD Djékanou, the current leaders of “Poule B”, is having a wonderful season. Later this year, AFAD will be participating in the group stage of the 2012 CAF Confederations Cup. AFAD is playing their home matches in Abidjan.

There are so many interesting players in this youthful team. Clovis Tahourou (born 25.12.1989) is widely considered as the best goalkeeper in the league. Kouakou Mansou (born 10.05.1991) is a quality player at the right-back or the right-wing. The promising Henri Joël Kouadio Konan (born 20.10.1993) is often found on left-back or the left-wing. Bobley Anderson Allegne (born 03.03.1992) and Sanga Topio Coulibaly (born 17.08.1988) are two of the most creative midfielders in the league. Skillful attacker Yannick Zakri (born 26.03.1991) is one of the top strikers in the country.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

N’Dri Fabrice Kouadio 6, Yannick Zakri 4, Bobley Anderson Allegne 3, Kouakou Mansou 2, Henri Joël Kouadio Konan 1, Souleymane Ouattara 1, Jean Jorès Zougouri 1

* Africa Sports FC from Abidjan, historically one of the best teams in the country, is struggling, currently ranked as number 6 in “Poule A”. This is somewhat of a surprise to me as the team looks strong on paper. Christian Fabrice Okoua (born 06.11.1991) is the talented first-choice goalkeeper. He versatile Ben Adama Banh, left-back Konan Ruffin N’Gouan (born 15.05.1990), central defender Kouassi Nicaise N’Goran (born 08.02.1988) and central defender Soumaila Belem are all quality players at this level. Belem is currently part of the Burkina Faso national football team. Dalla Coulibaly (born 28.05.1987) is leading the midfield together with enterprising winger Serge Kouakou (born 02.02.1989). Up front, Nigerian striker Patrick Friday Eze (born 22.12.1992) and Tiémoko Konaté (born in 1990) are both considered as huge talents. Koffi Kan Tobie Olie (born 22.09.1984), formerly of Zamalek (Egypt) and AS Salé (Morocco) and Sekou Timité (born 11.05.1985), formerly of Olympique Beja (Tunisia) and FC Winterthur (Switzerland), are both experienced attackers. However, the attacking play of the team has not been working at all.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Tiémoko Konaté 4, Leoh Digbeu 1, Koffi Kan Tobie Olie 1, Abdoul Sory Soumahoro 1

* Société Omnisports de l’Armée, mostly called SO Armée or SOA, is the top club in Yamoussoukro, the political capital of the Ivory Coast. The season has so far been a disappointment and the club is currently number 6 in “Poule B”. The backbone of the team consists of four experienced players; goalkeeper Guyan Kanté, defender Lamine Sogodogo (born 17.12.1987), attacking midfielder Antoine N’Gossan (born 30.11.1990) and goalpoacher Didier Brossou Kpéhi (born 29.05.1984), famous for scoring 17 league goals for Sabé Sports in 2009. Interestingly, all four players have previously played for ASEC Mimosas. A few years ago, N’Gossan was widely regarded as one of the biggest talents in the country. In 2008, he participated for the Ivory Coast U-23 national football team during the Olympics in China. From my point of view, central defender Kouadio Kevin Kouamé (born 31.12.1992), playmaker Simon Kangoh, right-winger Issoumaïla Lingane (born 15.03.1991) from Burkina Faso and young target man Jacob Philippe Okan Agoussi (born 23.12.1995) are the players to watch. Okan Agoussi was a trialist at Lillestrøm SK (Norway) earlier this year. Hermann Kouao (born 31.12.1989), who played for Stade d’Abidjan last season, is the current top scorer.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Hermann Kouao 4, Jacob Philippe Okan Agoussi 3, Didier Brossou Kpéhi 2, Issoumaïla Lingane 1, Pierre Hervé M’Bena 1, Antoine N’Gossan 1

* ASEC Mimosas, world famous for developing talented players, looks surprisingly weak this season. The Abidjan-based powerhouse of Ivorian football is currently number 2 in “Poule B” but their performances have not been impressive. Tiasse Koné (born 11.11.1981) started the season as first choice goalkeeper but has lately lost his place to Sylvain Komenan (born 20.12.1982). Robert Sankara (born 18.02.1985), a full international player for Burkina Faso, and Junior Salomon (born 04.08.1986), a full international player for Benin, and Zahui Okou (born 11.06.1988), have played well in the heart of the defence. Look out for youngster Aboubacar Ouattara (born 14.04.1993), a promising centre-back.

One of the bright spots of the season has been defensive midfielder Michel Mvondo (born 09.11.1992) from Cameroon, formerly of Astres Douala. Together with Ghanaian Mark Sekyere (born 28.12.1989) and Hugues Evrad Zagbayou (born 14.05.1990), Mvondo forms a strong midfield. Ghanaian Abdul Ganiyu Iddi (born 23.10.1987) is currently out of form but he started well at the right side of midfield. Iddi is a former player of KV Mechelen (Belgium). The petit attacking midfielder Jean Michael Séry (born 19.07.1991) is arguably the most exciting prospect at the club.

Top striker Samba Diabaté (born 31.01.1986) scored regularly for Stella Club d’Adjamé but two league goals in 10 matches is not good enough. However, his latest performances indicate improvement. Expectations were also high for Ladji Tiezan Koné (born 15.05.1989), one of the top performers of Séwé Sport last season. Josué Alex Aguié (born 11.01.1987) was a big-name signing in April but the journeyman striker, formerly of RSC Anderlecht (Belgium) and Olympique Safi (Morocco), has not impressed at all.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Samba Diabaté 2, Abdul Ganiyu Iddi 2, Yao Yves Ablakor 1, Koffi Davy Bouah 1, Jean-Jacques Bougouhi 1, Zahui Okou 1, Jean Michael Séry 1

* USC Bassam, based in the south eastern city of Grand-Bassam, is currently number 3 in “Poule A”. USCB has one of the hottest strikers in the country in Louis Philippe Anobile (born 16.11.1989). According to Fédération Ivoirienne de Football, Anobile has scored 10 goals in 10 matches this season. Anobile has developed a strong partnership with Ghanaian striker Edem Kouamé Akrofi (born 18.07.1990). Lanky midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim Diaby (born 02.04.1990) is another key player.

Defender Bienvenu Aipo, midfielder Landry Digbeu and playmaker Mory Samaké, all new signings from Club Omnisports Cyrille Domoraud, participated for the Ivory Coast B national football team during the 2011 UEMOA Tournament in October / November 2011. At the time, Aipo was 23 years old while Digbeu and Samaké were 21 years old.

* ES Bingerville, from Bingerville in south eastern Ivory Coast, is newly promoted and currently number 5 in “Poule B”. ESB recently made a wonderful signing in experienced goalkeeper Aristide Zogbo (born 30.12.1981), formerly of Maccabi Netanya FC (Israel). Zogbo has played several matches for the Ivory Coast national football team. Zogbo will compete against Jean Malick Hortalin Blé Zadi, who participated for the Ivory Coast B national football team during the 2011 UEMOA Tournament in October / November 2011.

From my point of view, Inza Diabaté (born 20.05.1992) is the player to watch. Diabaté, formerly of ASEC Mimosas, was the top scorer in the Ligue 2 last season. Other key players from last season are Nabi Koné (defender), Hadda Zongo (attacking midfielder) from Burkina Faso, Patrick Bini Kouman Koffi (defender), Fiacre Lopez Tohoua (defender), Yaya Diomandé (midfielder), Marius Okpekon Yacé (midfielder) and Jean Patrick Dogui (attacker). Tall striker Jean Iméré Yao Krizo (born 25.10.1988) has yet to blossom.

The picture is of goalkeeper Zogbo and was found on fifa.com.


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