The 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations is the stage on which Russia-based forward Seydou Doumbia could well force his way into the galaxy of stars from the Côte d'Ivoire.
Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Toure, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou and Chieck Tiote are already well known for their exploits for club and country, and it is now 24-year-old Doumbia's chance to shine on the biggest stage in African football.
Doumbia has moved from the J-League in Japan to Switzerland's BSC Young Boys before settling at Russian side CSKA Moscow. In Switzerland, the Ivorian was Player of the Year as well as top scorer in the 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons.
The striker's progress was further clear when he was picked as the top player in the Russian league last year, following an illustrious list of past winners that included Viktor Onokpo and Yuri Zhirkov.
Doumbia has always shown a nose for goal as he was top scorer in the Ivorian league back in 2005, and now has 24 goals in 30 appearances for CSKA this season, sparking the interest of several clubs. "He's a big asset for any team,' said CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky.
While at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa Doumbia played in just one match, a 3-0 win over North Korea, the powerful forward can expect to play a bigger role at this year's Africa Cup of Nations, with Côte d'Ivoire coach Francois Zahoui hailing his efforts against South Africa in the absence of Drogba.
'I want to rely on all the players and not just an individual," said Zahoui. "The absence of Drogba did not affect us negatively because we were able to plug that hole with with Doumbia. We can't rely on our so-called superstars. During the 2010 World Cup, Drogba was injured and we still relied on him and it backfired.
"We have learned from Ghana. Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari are their key players but their coach got results even without them."