Tottenham youngster Souleymane Coulibaly wants to honour civil war dead


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The Independent Football

Souleymane Coulibaly hopes to keep on honouring the people who died during the Ivory Coast's civil war by continuing his progression to stardom at Tottenham.

Coulibaly was labelled the "next Didier Drogba" after he scored nine goals in four games for the Ivory Coast in the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico.

That performance led to the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United being linked with his signature, but he chose to move to Spurs from Siena, where he began his career.

The youngster has progressed well since, developing his skills from time spent at the club's training ground with the likes of Gareth Bale.

His goals have helped Tottenham reach the NextGen Series quarter-finals - an Under-19 version of the Champions League - and he was also recently named 'Most Promising African' at the CAF annual awards - a source of great pride for the Ivorian, who has been affected deeply by the struggles in his war-torn homeland.

He said: "For me 2011 was a good year in some respects, and a bad one in others. I played in the World Cup with a lot of pride. It's a war-torn country, the Ivory Coast, so every goal I score I dedicate it to the people who have passed away during the war. I was honoured with the Most Promising African Player award (at the CAF awards), that was a huge, huge thing for me."

Coulibaly, 17, scored three goals in six games to help Tottenham reach the NextGen last eight.

He has been pleased with his development and is relishing the prospect of playing at White Hart Lane for the first time in tonight's quarter-final against Liverpool.

He added: "I'm very, very happy to be here. Spurs have treated me really well. Everything Spurs have said they'll do, they've done. I respect that.

"What I want to do is improve all the time as a player. Every time I watch Gareth Bale train he does something different. He is incredible.

"I'm in a good group of players which I'm still trying to break through. I think bit by bit I'll pick it up and improve.

"The Liverpool game is a very big game for me, very important, I don't sleep easily with this in my mind! It's on my mind all the time, it means absolutely everything to me and I'm desperate to win the game."