The longer the 2015 African Cup of Nations goes on, the more likely it looks that Monday January 19 goes down as a marquee day in the tournament’s history.
After the latest games in the competition saw Group A protagonists Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Congo score one goal between them, the two matches played in Senegal’s tricky Group C on that celebrated Monday remain the only outings in 10 to see over 2.5 goals scored.
Such little attacking action could have the Premier League’s goal-shy sides worrying that a tournament usually so reliable in producing unpolished diamonds will yield no results. Luckily for them, though, there is Burkina Faso’s Alain Traore (pictured above).
The Lorient striker did all he could to bring a goal to his nation’s 0-0 stalemate with Equatorial Guinea last night, hitting the post with a free-kick, having another shot turned on to the woodwork later on and registering six attempts and four key passes over the course of the 90 minutes.
Linked to West Brom by the Daily Star in December, Tony Pulis may well have received a glowing report on the 27-year-old forward, who has twice been denied a move to an elite top-flight club in his career.
A failure to secure a work permit saw a switch to Manchester United collapse in 2005, while Arsenal were left frustrated by a thigh injury to the Ivory Coast-born player that scuppered their plans to sign him in the 2013 January window.
The only goal on the night went to Congo’s Prince Oniangue, a target of West Ham’s this past summer.
A regular in Reims’ first-team in France, the 26-year-old central midfielder could well be the ideal replacement for Moussa Sissoko at Newcastle, should the Frenchman get his wish of a move to Arsenal this January.
Like Sissoko, Oniangue is a physically dynamic player with an eye for goal and has the obvious benefit of playing in the Magpies’ favoured country for player recruitment.