Newcastle’s new striker to impress at the African Nations Cup

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The African Nations Cup gets underway this weekend and Didier Drogba has been rated the 13/8 favourite to be the top scoring Premier League participant in the competition.

The Chelsea forward achieved that feat in the 2006 tournament by scoring three goals and signalled his intention to replicate it by finding the net four times during qualifying.

And if his nation the Ivory Coast live up to their billing as 13/8 frontrunners to win the whole thing then he will have plenty of opportunities to get the goals required to outperform his divisional rivals.

Second favourite is the Premier League’s top scoring African player this season Demba Ba, who is 10/3 to continue the form that has seen him strike 15 times since joining Newcastle in the summer.

Ba plays his international football for Senegal, who are also considered contenders to take home the trophy at 11/2, however his goal-to-game ratio isn’t as impressive for his country as at club level, and he was used as a substitute in qualifying.

His recent record should ensure that he is given a more pivotal role in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, as indeed he did in the Teranga Lions’ warm-up match against Sudan, but team-mate Papiss Cisse might be the better bet at a chunky 8/1.

The 26-year-old completed a move to Newcastle of his own earlier this week on account of a prolific 18 months in the Bundesliga with struggling Freiburg and he has been a menace for Senegal too, scoring four to Ba’s one in qualifying.

Also expected to mount a decent challenge are Chelsea and Ivory Coast front man Salomon Kalou (6/1), his compatriot Gervinho (10/1) and the latter’s Arsenal colleague Marouane Chamakh (12/1), who will be representing Morocco.

Those tempted to back outsiders Kolo Toure (100/1) or Armand Traore (150/1) should note that no Premier League star grabbed more than one at the 2010 edition, so a solitary strike may be enough to earn at least a dead-heat payout.

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