- Rising star Lassina Traore performs for Ajax and Burkina Faso
- Scored a quintuple for his club final October, a primary since Marco van Basten
- “We’ve got what it takes to achieve big things.”
Lassina Traore had a really massive hand in Ajax Amsterdam’s 13-0 thrashing of VVV-Venlo on 24 October final 12 months, scoring 5 objectives and establishing three extra. In the method the person from Burkina Faso grew to become the primary Ajax participant to attain as many objectives in an Eredivisie match since Marco van Basten struck six towards Sparta Rotterdam again in 1985.
It was no imply feat for a participant who will flip 20 this January and who has solely damaged into the primary staff this season. Yet for anybody who has been following his performances with Ajax’s reserves since arriving in Europe two years in the past, it maybe got here as much less of a shock. A robust and deadly finisher and a consummate staff participant, Traore is repaying the religion that the Dutch giants confirmed in signing him from their former South African feeder staff Ajax Cape Town [now known as Cape Town Spurs].
As Traore defined, nevertheless, it took time for him to make his mark within the Netherlands: “It was tough and the standard was really high. I realised how hard I would need to work. I remember one training session in the United States where I had Matthijs de Ligt right on my back. He couldn’t have marked me any tighter. He was strong like me and very quick. It was the first time for me and he got the ball off me every time, though things would be different today,” he added with a smile.
Keen to be taught and a tough employee, Traore made each effort to adapt to his new life on and off the pitch. Luckily for him, his arrival at Ajax coincided with their thrilling run to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League within the 2018/19 season.
“It was amazing,” he recalled. “I felt so proud. Even though my first year was really tough, I was really happy to be part of that adventure.” It was an journey during which he made his first look on the bench within the dramatic semi-closing second-leg defeat to Tottenham.
A household affair
One good motive for Traore’s rise to prominence is the truth that he hails from a household that has soccer in its blood. His mom was as passionate concerning the sport as anybody and has been in love with it since her childhood days. “Her parents didn’t want her to play football and she had to make sure they didn’t catch her training and playing matches,” said the young striker. “Then, when she started to make some money from it, they understood that it was serious and let her play.”
And play she did, turning into the captain and playmaker of Burkina Faso’s ladies’s nationwide staff. “I went with her everywhere when I was young,” mentioned Traore. “I used to be there when she was coaching and when she was enjoying. That’s the place my ardour for the sport comes from. She provides me profession recommendation however when it involves issues out on the pitch, she is aware of that I do know what to do. She’s taught me how one can relaxation, how one can lead a wholesome life, and how one can focus the day earlier than matches.”
His father additionally performed soccer, although not on the highest degree, whereas his uncle, Rahim Ouedraogo, performed for Burkina Faso earlier than founding a club, Rahimo FC, within the metropolis of Bobo-Dioulasso in 2012. Now one of many country’s main golf equipment, it runs an academy that Traore joined on the age of 11. “I learned everything I know there,” mentioned the Ajax entrance man, who fed his goals of glory by watching the nationwide staff in motion and following the exploits of his two favorite gamers: Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Traore can also be the cousin of Bertrand Traore, the previous Ajax and present Aston Villa ahead, and sees him as one thing of an enormous brother, after the position he performed in serving to him alter to his new life in Europe. The two performed facet by facet for their country in 2017, when Lassina gained his first cap at simply 16. Despite his tender age, he started his worldwide profession with a bang, scoring three objectives in his first two outings with the Stallions.
The Ajax star is a part of an thrilling new technology of Burkinese gamers who’re constructing on the progress of the final ten years and are stuffed with confidence heading into their subsequent African engagements. First up come the final two qualifying matches for the 2021 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in March, adopted shortly afterwards by the beginning of the preliminaries for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
As Traore defined, the Stallions have their sights set on reaching the world finals for the very first time: “The people of Burkina Faso are starting to believe we can do it. They know we’ve got a team that can go far, especially with the new generation that’s coming through. They’re linking up well with the experienced players who reached the Africa Cup of Nations final in 2013 and finished third in 2017. We’ll get our reward as long as we stick at it, and we’ve got what it takes to achieve big things.”