The African cup of nations gets underway later this month and four Eredivisie stars will be present at the tournament. Kalkeren Kieran profiles the quartet.

traore virBertrand Traoré (Burkina Faso)

Date of birth: 1995-09-06 (age 19)
Place of birth: Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso
Playing position: Attacking Midfield/ Winger
Current club: Vitesse Arnhem (on loan from Chelsea)

On the 2nd of January 2014, Traoré signed on loan for Eredivisie side Vitesse, On 26 January 2014, he made his debut, coming on in the 67th minute for Chelsea’s team mate, Luca Piazon. On 7 July 2014, it was confirmed that Traoré would stay at Vitesse Arnhem on loan for the 2014-15 season. The Chelsea loanee has appeared 30 times for the Dutch side in the Eredivisie and has scored a respectable seven times.

Traoré made his debut for the senior national team on the 3rd September 2011, in a friendly match against Equatorial Guinea. He made his first appearance at an African cup of national finals in the 2012 edition, becoming one of the youngest players to do so. He came on as a 65th minute substitute in the 2–1 loss to Sudan in their final group stage match. He has been in the national team set up since under-17 level. Traoré scored his first goal for the main side on the 14th of August 2013, the first of a 2–1 away win over Morocco. Burkino Faso and Traore will be managed by Belgian Paul Put, who leads a young and spirited side into the 2015 African cup of nations.

Burkina Faso, runners-up in the 2013 edition of the competition have been placed in group A and will face Gabon, Congo and the hosts Equatorial Guinea. The top two in the group of four will advance to the knockout stage of the competition. Burkina Fasco and Traore should make it out of the group stages, the side faces Gabon in their opening match on the 17th of January, the team then will play against hosts and ranked outsiders Equatorial Guinea, the final match of the group for Traore and the Burkina Fasco side is against Congo.

kanon akakWilfried Kanon (Ivory Coast)

Date of birth: 1993-07-06 (age 21)
Place of birth: Kaabo, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
Playing position: Centre Back
Current Club: ADO Den Haag

Kanon signed for ADO Den Haag on the 2nd of September 2013, following work permit issues with Corona Braşov, the player was released to sign a 2 year contract with the Dutch team. Since joining the club Kanon has featured in 24 matches for the Eredivisie side and will be managed in the African cup of nations by French man Herve Renard, the Ivory Coast go into the competition one of the favourites and Kanon will be hoping that his side can go all the way this edition of the competition, the last time the Ivory Coast won the competition was the 1992 edition, Ivory coast are favourites to qualify in their group which features Mali, Cameroon and Guinea.

fortes doreJeffrey Fortes (Cape Verde)

Date of birth: 1989-03-22 (age 25)
Place of birth: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Playing position: Right Back
Current Club: FC Dordrecht

Fortes joined FC Dordrecht for the 2008/2009 season, but It wasn’t until four season’s later that he was given a chance to prove his potential, when Fortes played a key role for the side appearing 26 times that season and scoring his first goal in the Jupiler league. Fortes and FC Dordrecht were promoted to the Eredivisie through the play-offs in the 2013/14 season, the side currently sit bottom of the Eredivisie with only seven points. He qualifies for Cape Verde because of his families roots. Cape Verde’s group includes Tunisia, Zambia and DR Congo. Fortes and the side wont have it easy as all three countries in the group have won the competition at least once, unlike Cape Verde who’s best finish was a quarter-finial spot in the 2012 edition.

varelaToni Varela (Cape Verde)

Date of birth: 1986-06-13 (age 28)
Place of birth: Santa Catarina, Cape Verde
Playing position: Midfielder
Current Club: Excelsior

Varela is a Cape Verde international. He made his debut for Cape Verde in an exhibition match against Portugal on the 24th May 2010. He also has represented his country at the 2013 African cup of nations. On 5th September 2014, Varela signed a one-year deal with Eredivisie side Excelsior. He has played for several other Dutch sides such as RKC Waalwijk, Sparta Rotterdam and FC Dordrecht. Varela has featured seven times for Marinus Dijkhuizen’s Excelsior, the Rotterdam side are currently 13th in the league. The club were almost certain to find them self’s fighting at the bottom this season. but they have been holding their own weekly in the top flight of Dutch football.

Kalkeren Kieran (3 Posts)