Souleymane Coulibaly Setting the U17 World Cup Alight

Souleymane Coulibaly Setting the U17 World Cup Alight

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Three goals against Brazil U17s was enough to see the Ivory Coast push ahead of Australia and make it out of the group stages of the U17 World Cup. The three goals were on top of four goals against Denmark and 1 goal against Australia to take Coulibaly to 8 goals in just 3 games, a record achievement at U17 level. Its no understatement to say that the 16 year old Sienna forward has carried The Elephants through to the last 16 having scored every single one of his sides goals thus far as he has become the player to watch so far in Mexico 2011.

His closest rivals in the race for the golden shoe are all on three goals, so even if the Ivory Coast don’t progress past France in the next round he will still be hot favorite to go home with the coveted Golden Shoe award.

It will be of course integral for the Ivory Coast to spread the load a bit if they are to make waves in Mexico and go all the way. Something that manager Alan Gouamene is well aware of stating after the Brazil game “If we’re going to create a winning mentality, it has to come from the whole team and that’s something I want to get through to the boys between now and Thursday [when his side play France in the last 16]. It can’t all be Coulibaly, Coulibaly.”

Nicknamed the New Didier Drogba, the striker has scored a wide range of goals at the tournament, a bicycle kick, left foot, right foot, all but a header to demonstrate his versatility and array of skills on the pitch where he sits one goal off a record 9 goals at an under 17 tournament set by Liverpool flop Sinama Pongelle back in 2001.

His three goals against Brazil being even more impressive as the Brazilians had not conceded in their two previous games before lining up against Coulibaly and his fellow Ivorian’s.

Beating the French will be no easy task for Gouamene’s men, despite the French stuttering to two consecutive draws after easily dispatching Argentina 3-0 in the first game of the group stages. Whatever the outcome of the game the World will be watching Coulibaly as at the moment the sky appears to be the limit for the young man. Such great form has seen him linked with some of Europe’s top clubs with Real Madrid said to be leading the chase for his signature and Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal said to be keen on the youngster, but after such impressive form it will surely take a huge bid to tempt Sienna into parting with his services

Having not yet broken into the Sienna first team he may be better advised to continue his development there rather than instantly seeking a big move away from home as Sinama Pongelle did back in 2001 having netted 9 times with a move to Liverpool. Pongelle never managed to fulfill his potential only managing 4 goals for Liverpool during his time there. Coulibaly should look at this as a warning when he ultimately decides his future after the tournament ends as he will look to develop into a top player for both club (whomever it may be) and country.