Strikers who have scored 102 goals since the summer of 2008 are a pretty good bet to be well-known around the world so what is Seydou Doumbia's excuse? Well he's scored his goals in Switzerland and Russia for one, in leagues that only locals and super soccer nerds watch. Two, he plays internationally for Cote D'Ivoire, who also have Didier Drogba so he's never gotten the attention as national team star.
So Doumbia isn't well-known, but that doesn't make him any less fantastic. A move from the J-League to Young Boys resulted in 57 goals in two seasons, good for the Swiss Super League lead in both years and Player of the Year honors in both years as well. It also netted him a move to CSKA Moscow, where he's spent the last year and a half years racking up 45 goals and picking up another Player of the Year award, this time in Russia.
Some might write off Doumbia's success to inferior competition, but this year's UEFA Champions League put any of those unfounded concerns aside. In five matches he scored five goals, including one against Inter Milan at the San Siro on the final match day to help earn CSKA a spot in the knockout stages.
For all of his success in Switzerland, Russia and Europe, Doumbia has not been able to translate his goal scoring form to international play. He's scored just once for Cote D'Ivoire in 14 appearances. Most of those appearances have come off the bench, including his only appearances at the World Cup last summer.
It is expected that Doumbia will be coming off the bench again at the Africa Cup of Nations. Cote D'Ivoire look set to go to a one striker formation with two wingers and Drogba isn't about to be unseated as the lone striker. That will put Doumbia back on the bench, relegated to super sub role unless manager unless Francois Zahoui decides to go with two strikers.
All Doumbia will be looking for is a chance though. He's proven it everywhere else and now is his chance to prove it with Cote D'Ivoire on Africa's biggest stage. The team has Drogba so Doumbia will be on the bench, but he's not a bad option off the bench. In fact, he'll be the best option off the bench in the whole tournament and by the time it is over a few more people who don't live in Switzerland and Russia might know who he is.
National Team: Cote D'Ivoire
Club Team: CSKA Moscow