In this series, I will look at the top 50 players that are most important to their teams. While some players might be overall more well known, they might not mean nearly as much to their team as a fringe guy coming from a big club trying to help their country. Today’s player is Wilfried Bony of the Ivory Coast and Swansea City.
Bony broke onto the scene last year with his stellar play for Vitesse in the Eredivisie League in Netherlands, netting 31 goals for the Vitas, which led the league. His total was especially eye-popping for those keeping track of U.S. forward Jozy Altidore, who was over there with AZ Alkmaar. In their two years in the league, Bony outscored Altidore 43-38, which showed he had a fondness for putting the ball into the net. Many people were skeptical, however, when they saw Swansea pay a record deal for the forward, four years, 12 million pounds, as many Dutch league players take a step up into the Barclay’s Premier League and promptly flop (*cough*, Jozy, Luuk De Jong *cough*). But so far this season, Bony is tied for 11th in the league with 11 goals during league play (22 total), providing the only punch for the hapless Swans with his strength which he uses to hold off weaker defenders before finding the net.
While Bony will be fighting to don the orange and green of Les Elephants, he will not be starting as Didier Drogba is still alive and kicking. He’s a legend, and legends do not sit. However, Bony will be a main factor nonetheless due to the fact Didier is now 34 years old. He isn’t the 90-minute Drogba of old, and as a result, the Ivory Coast will be looking for some goal scoring power off of the bench. With the “Gentle Giant” of Everton, Lacina Traore, sidelined all season with an injury, Bony will have a prime chance to take a spot on the national team and provide some goal scoring for a club that is near its last gasp of a golden age.
With Bony’s massive strength and decent pace, he should be able to find holes in the defense of Japan, as well as Greece and Colombia. But will his chances lead to goals or will the Ivory Coast sink as result?