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Lega Pro Review – La Gazzetta Dello Sport Recognises The Next Generation of Players

Steve Mitchell returns with a round up of the biggest stories in the Italian 3rd and 4th tiers. This week he looks at some of the leagues’ high-flying youngsters, a player suspected of robbing petrol stations and Pro Vercelli’s impressive rise into the play-offs.

Ternana players celebrate during their 3-0 demolition of Viareggio

Ternana players celebrate during their 3-0 demolition of Viareggio (image from

The most famous sports daily newspaper in Italy, La Gazzetta Dello Sport has thrown its considerable weight behind the lower leagues this season in an attempt to single out the most promising young talent in the peninsula. For the 2011/12 campaign, the celebrated pink broadsheet is running two competitions the Premio Cestani to find the best young player in Lega Pro born after 1990 and the Premio Laudano which recognises the top young marksman in the third and fourth tiers and applies to those players in the same age category.

The Premio Cestani takes its name in recognition of the work done by former Lega Pro President Ugo Cestani who incidentally was succeeded by current FIGC chief Giancarlo Abete. Whereas the Premio Laudano has been created in honour of Mario Laudano, a celebrated journalist who spent 40 years with the newspaper writing mainly about life in the lower echelons of the game.

As we enter the second-half of the campaign, the two competitions’ tables are headed by the same player, US Vibonese’s Senegalese striker Souleymane Doukara. The 20-year-old hit man has spent the past three years coming through the ranks at Serie D side Rovigo where he netted  28 times in 69 appearances. His final tally for last season was 11. This season, with his new employers in C2 he has already found the net on nine occasions which puts him head and shoulders above his rivals for the Laudano trophy at present. His average pagelle from La Gazzetta (marks out of ten per game), currently resides at 6.50 which joint top in the Cestani trophy with Renate goalkeeper Matteo Pisseri.

Souleymane Doukara: A rising star in Italian football

Souleymane Doukara: A rising star in Italian football (Image from US Vibonese)

Pisseri is currently on loan at the C2 side from his home town club Parma and the 20-year-old shot stopper has been gaining some rave reviews for his performances this season despite Renate sitting in mid-table obscurity at the present time. Being a young goalkeeper at Parma, many observers will look at the comparison between Pisseri and the legendary Gianluigi Buffon who first came to prominence at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. Obviously, its one step at a time for the young custodian but if his exceptional form continues, he could be a name to look out for in the future.


Souleymane Doukara (Forward) – Vibonese 6.50
Matteo Pisseri (Goalkeeper) – Renate 6.50
Cristiano Piccini (Midfielder) – Carrarese 6.47
Nicholas Siega (Forward) – Casale 6.44
Daniele Giorico (Midfielder) -  Treviso 6.44


Souleymane Doukara (Forward) – Vibonese – 9 goals
Simone Corazza (Forward) – Portogruaro – 7
Manuel Fischnaller (Forward) – Sud Tirol – 6
Daniele Bernasconi (Midfielder) – Fondi – 6
Luca Miracoli (Forward) – Valenzana – 6

Doukara’s fabulous start to the season at Vibonese has been somewhat overshadowed this week by the news that his team-mate, the 20-year-old defender, Maicon Oliva has been arrested by police in connection with three robberies committed at petrol stations in the province of Cosenza. The youngster was taken away during training yesterday leaving club president, Giuseppe Caffo to deal with a startled media. The club have issued an official statement stating their surprise at the incident, and little else.

In more light hearted news, Pro Vercelli have been giving away mini t-shirts to all babies born in the city’s main hospital between January 1 up until the start of last weekends game against Como. Its a good time to be a Vercelli supporter with the team riding the quest of a wave at the moment. Sundays 2-0 win at the Stadio Silvio Piola keeps them in touch with league leaders Ternana.

Foggia are going global and are currently hot property in Japan thanks to the website Calcio 2002 which has been created by Japanese journalist Norikazu Sato who has followed the fortunes of the club from Puglia since legendary coach Zdenek Zeman took charge in 2010. The club now has a page dedicated to it every month and hopes to attract support from the Far East.

On the field this week, C1A leaders Ternana continued their excellent form with a 3-0 demolition of Viareggio. C1B pace setters Siracusa had to be content with a goalless draw at home to Latina, whilst in C2A there was a surprise result at the Stadio Olimpico in San Marino as the home side upset high flying Casale with a 3-1 win.

C2B saw Ebolitana’s woes continue as the cash strapped team went down to a 1-6 home defeat to Gavorrano. Due to structural issues, the game was played away from the Stadio Dirceu and this week, the city’s mayor Martino Melchionda has stated that he is in advanced talks with a mystery party in an attempt to save the club’s future. League leaders Perugia played out a dire 0-0 with Aversa Normanna in front of the live Sportitalia cameras on Friday night.

Latest results:

C1A: Benevento 0-1 Foggia, Foligno 1-0 Avellino, Pisa 1-2 Spal, Pro Vercelli 1892 2-0 Como, Reggiana 1-2 Pavia, Sorrento 2-0 Monza, Taranto 1-0 Lumezzane, Tritium 0-1 Carpi, Viareggio 0-3 Ternana

C1B: Andria 1-2 Spezia, Carrarese 2-1 Cremonese, Feralpi Salo` 2-0 Triestina, Frosinone 2-1 Barletta, Pergocrema 1-4 Portogruaro, Piacenza 0-0 SudTirol, Prato 1-2 Trapani, Siracusa 0-0 Latina, Virtus Lanciano 1-0 Bassano Virtus

C2A: Aprilia 3-3 Giulianova, Arzanese 1-0 Fondi, Campobasso 0-0 L’Aquila, Catanzaro 2-0 Melfi, Celano 1-0 Paganese, Ebolitana 1-6 Gavorrano, Fano Alma J. 1-1 Vigor Lamezia, Milazzo 2-1 Chieti, Perugia 0-0 Aversa Normanna, Vibonese 0-1 Neapolis

C2B: Buggiano 3-2 Cuneo, Giacomense 2-2 Mantova, Montichiari 1-1 Savona, Renate 0-2 Alessandria, Sambonifacese 1-2 Rimini, San Marino 3-1 Casale, Santarcangelo 0-1 Pro Patria Aurora, Treviso 1-0 Poggibonsi, Valenzana 3-0 Lecco, Virtus Entella 1-0 Bellaria Igea Marina

Follow Steve Mitchell on twitter (@barafundler) and come back for his regular updates.

  • Chris King

    About time!!!

    Forza Pro!!!

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