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Kalou to prove vital for the elephants

sports Updated: Jun 06, 2010 00:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Natural talents from tiny Ivory Coast have been making waves in football. Besides the Toure brothers and Didier Drogba, the country has winger Salomon Kalou. The 24-year-old, playing for English champions Chelsea, will appear at the WC and his athleticism on the left-wing will be one to look forward to.

Kalou began club career with Netherlands’ Feyenoord’s ‘satellite outfit’ SBV Excelsior, scoring 15 goals in 11 appearances during 2002-03. He moved to Feyenoord next and impressed with 35 goals in 67 appearances between 2003 and 2006.

His arrival in London brought a controlled growth to his versatility under then manager Jose Mourinho. He scored his first senior goal for The Blues in a third-round Carling Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers, his side winning 2-0.

His form wavered but found stability in the latter half of the 2009-10 season when he scored a hattrick in a game which saw Chelsea walloping Aston Villa 7-0. The Ivory Coast star has scored 40 goals for his club so far and has been part of the side that picked up one Premier League trophy and three FA Cups.

Prior to the 2006 WC, Kalou tried to get Dutch citizenship but the application was rejected.

He played the 2008 African Cup of Nations, scoring three goals and ensuring a fourth place finish for The Elephants. With many suggesting the 2010 WC will be Africa's time to shine, Kalou will be a decisive factor in Ivory Coast's individual hunt for glory. His speed and ability to slot crucial goals will be clinical.