WORLD CUP: Players to watch

Aruna Dindane (Ivory Coast)

Aruna Dindane forms a formidable strike partnership for Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) alongside Chelsea ace Didier Drogba. Having initially come to the attention of the African public through the Asec Mimosas Academy run by Jean-Marc Guillou, Dindane has become one of the key members of the Ivorian national side. Born on November 26, 1980, he took his first steps to becoming a footballer in the slums of Adjame. The seventh of 10 siblings, he spent his childhood running arou-nd the alleyways in search of a ball or even an orange with which to hone his skills. He would travel to neighbouring districts to take part in five or seven-a-side district competitions.

Bakary Kone (Ivory Coast)

Bakary Kone, known as ‘Baky’, has all the qualities needed to become a truly great footballer. Kone has certainly risen to the challenge with great panache. In a handful of breathtaking appearances, the lad from Abidjan has shown all the qualities that make him one of the brightest young things in African football. Bedazzled by Kone’s quality, Jean-Marc Guillou, founder of the ASEC Abidjan Academy, took the time to shape this rough diamond, just as he had done with Kolo Toure, Aruna Dindane and Didier Zokora.

Called up last year by coach Henri Michel, he is already firmly in the Frenchman’s good books.