Jupiler Pro league foreigners heading into World Cup Brazil – Part 1

Besides our Belgian players, we also have a delegation foreigners in the Jupiler Pro League who have a chance to make it into World Cup in Brasil. We’ve selected players from the Jupiler Pro League who have been called up at least once this year for their national team. Some of them have already been playing for years in the Belgian competition while others are even new discoveries for the Jupiler Pro League.

Andy Najar from RSC Anderlecht (Honduras)

The Honduran is one of the players whose star started to shine recently here in Belgium. The winger got a chance from Dutch coach John van den Brom as a right back due to an injury of Guillaume Gillet and the suspension of Anthony Vanden Borre. At his period with D.C. United Najar was a winger but also helped his team out as a right back when required. In Belgium, he showed his potential in his first start against Racing Genk but was helped a bit with an early red card for the opposition. He also had more space to show his attacking abilities.

John van den Brom gave him a chance afterwards as a winger together with Massimo Bruno. Both players were a constant threat for their opponents. Like most wingers, Najar’s pace and technique are a very important weapon for the youngster. But Najar also sees what happens around him. He’s a real team player. I’m quite sure that both Anderlecht and Honduras will enjoy this gifted player in the next coming years.

Aboubakar Oumarou from Waasland-Beveren (Cameroon)

I was already a big fan from Aboubakar Oumarou since he got his first minutes for Waasland-Beveren. The Cameroonian received his first chance in the Jupiler Pro League against RSC Anderlecht. He came onto the field in the second half for Robert Demjan. Though Waasland-Beveren lost with 3-0 against Anderlecht, Oumarou showed that he’s capable to become a top striker in the Belgian competition. The striker is very fast and has a good shot.

However, as a forward you are judged on goals and Oumarou hasn’t scored yet in the Jupiler Pro League. The striker also didn’t arrive in the best circumstances at Waasland-Beveren. The club had bought nineteen new players in the summer transfer period and are bottom of the league together with Mons. Aboubakar Oumarou will need to improve if he wants to be in the squad for the World Cup in Brasil.

Eiji Kawashima from Standard Liège (Japan)

The Japanese goalkeeper started brilliantly with Standard Liège this season, going six league games without conceding a goal. After fifteen matches he has only conceded six goals – some great stats for a goalkeeper. Kawashima is 30 years old and looks like to be in the best form of his career. Without any injuries, Kawashima will be without any doubt the number one in Brazil for Japan.

With Yohann Thuram as number two in Liège, Eiji Kawashima will need to keep his best form. Having an able deputy fighting for the number one spot means the Japanese star will have to be at his very best to retain his spot. The talented French goalkeeper was bought last summer from Troyes in France. Kawashima already played in the Confederations Cup with Japan this season and that wasn’t a big success for the side. The Japanese goalie hopes that the World Cup in Brazil will be a better experiences. Japan plays against Ivory Coast, Colombia and Greece in Group C.  Of course Japan won 3-2 against Belgium in a friendly some weeks ago, showing they are more than capable to do well at the tournament.

Frank Acheampong from Anderlecht (Ghana)

Frank Achempong is one of the players who suffers the most tackles in the Jupiler Pro League. The Ghanian winger is probably faster with the ball then Usain Bolt, hence why he is always brought down. I’m still surprised that one of those, sometimes very nasty, tackles haven’t injured him. Until now, Acheampong is used by John van den Brom as somebody to break the opponent’s wall. Everytime he comes on the pitch he starts threatening the defenders with some thunderous runs.

Frank Acheampong will need to learn to think what’s best for the team. Sometimes he’s too selfish, he’s in his zone the moment he starts his run towards the opponent’s goalkeeper. Anderlecht could turn this raw diamond into a killer winger the next years. He’s one of the guys who national head coach Akwasi Appiah must consider on his  list come the summer.

Reza Ghoochannejhad from Standard Liège (Iran)

Reza Ghoochannejhad was the hero for his country in this World Cup campaign. The former Sint-Truiden player scored three goals for Iran in their qualifying campaign, all coming in the last three group games.  His most vital sent Iran to Brazil, with his goal proving to be the matchwinner against South Korea. In Belgium, Reza showed his qualities in his period with Sint-Truiden, with Standard President Roland Duchatelet bringing him from his former club to join Les Rouches.

Until now, things aren’t going like Reza probably hoped at Standard. The club of Wallonia has a lot of talent in the same position with Mpoku, Mujangi Bia, Ezekiel and Carcela. In the past, Reza Ghoochannejhad played for the youth squads of the Netherlands, playing for Heerenveen, Go Ahead Eagles, Emmen and Cambuur. The national team coach of Iran, Carlos Queiroz, spotted Reza during his period with Lierse SK. Reza made his decision afterwards to play for Iran instead of the Netherlands. Some years later he will play with Iran at a World Cup.

Boubacar Copa from Sporting Lokeren (Ivory Coast)

The eccentric goalkeeper of Sporting Lokeren will again play a part at a World Cup. Boubacar Copa has been at Sporting Lokeren since 2007. He could have made a move to a bigger club some years ago but President Lambrecht of Lokeren did everything to keep his diamond at the club. Without Copa’s blunders due to his “show-stopping saves” Roger Lambrecht would never have had a chance to keep the goalkeeper in Belgium.

Boubacar Copa  has already made 78 appearances for Ivory Coast and already played in several international tournaments with his country. The World Cup in Brazil will be his third participation in a World Cup. Not bad for a goalkeeper of Sporting Lokeren. This time Copa will have to stop shots from Falcao (Colombia), Kagawa (Japan) and Mitroglou (Greece). Belgian football will be mentioned in his match against Japan as both Copa and Kawashima play in the Jupiler Pro League.

In our next article we’ll give you our thoughts on Mathew Ryan, Sacha Kljestan, Daniel Opare, Goh Bi Cyriac, Oscar Duarte and Ervin Zukanovic. Read it here:

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