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Ligue 2: Five African players to watch this season

Ahead of the French second tier kick-off this weekend, KweséESPN profile five top African talents to watch this season.

Waris Majeed is surely the most high-profile player in Ligue 2, although it remains to be seen whether he will still be with FC Lorient for too much longer.

The Ghana international was linked with a move to Manchester United as recently as 2015, although while he remains a lethal striker on his day, his career trajectory hasn't followed the pathway that many would have expected.

He scored nine in 35 last season - down on 11 in 21 the season before - as Les Merlus were relegated, and Bursaspor are understood to be keen on his services.

It remains to be seen whether a return to Turkey would appeal to Waris, who endured an injury-hit and goalless stint in the Super Lig with Trabzonspor during the 2014-15 campaign.

Alhassan Wakaso: Another Ghanaian at FC Lorient is Wakaso, the younger brother of Deportivo Alaves new boy and former Celtic midfielder Mubarak.

He surely wouldn't have been expecting a drop into the French second tier when he arrived at Lorient from Rio Ave earlier this year, but the relegation may not hurt Wakaso...if he remains at the club.

The 25-year-old struggled to settle during his first six months in France, and perhaps an easier competition will afford him a greater opportunity to settle, adapt to life in Brittany, and assert himself at a club which should be one of the division's dominant sides.

Aldo Kalulu: After bursting onto the scene with Olympique Lyonnais, when he scored on his first start against SC Bastia, Kalulu's progress stalled at the French giants as he - predictably - found first-team football hard to come by following Nabil Fekir's return from injury.

A loan move to Stade Rennais suggested that he wasn't yet ready for regular Ligue 1 competition - he failed to score in 10 league games - but the 21-year-old has the quality to be a lethal presence for Sochaux after moving on loan to the second-tier side.

Can the Franco-Rwandan attacker be the catalyst for Sochaux to return to the top flight?

Olivier Kemen: There are plenty of former Lyon youth prospects to be found in Ligue 2 this season, right from steely veterans to bright young things. 21-year-old Kemen - on loan again at Gazelec Ajaccio - falls into the latter category.

The Cameroon-born midfielder has represented France at every youth level from U-16 to U-20, but he's struggled to assert himself at Lyon - making just two league outings in each of the last two campaigns - and despite the departures of Corentin Tolisso and Maxime Gonalons, has again been dispatched to the second tier.

He's improved his discipline markedly, while a shift from the base of the midfield to a more offensive role has allowed Kemen to express himself more readily.

Denis Bouanga: We conclude our list at Lorient again - and it should be no surprise that Les Merlus are the hot favourites for promotion back to the top table.

Bouanga was a revelation for Gabon at the Nations Cup on home soil earlier this year, winning plaudits with his inventive, vibrant wing play despite the Panthers' first-round exit.

Comparing the former Strasbourg man and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the Central Africans' three group matches, it was hard to know which was the African Footballer of the Year, and which had been loaned out to Ligue 2 side Tours!

Bouanga's been linked with a move to Saint-Etienne and Valencia during the summer, but appears to have silenced the rumours after putting pen to paper on a new four-year deal. If he delivers the kind of glittering showings he did at the Afcon, then expect Lorient's stay in the second tier to be brief.

Ed Dove is the Soccer Editor for KweséESPN. Follow him on Twitter @EddyDove.

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