Wilfried Zaha buys his own club – and hopes to guide them up football pyramid

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has bought a football club in the hopes of leading them up the football pyramid.

The 29-year-old is the proud new co-owner of Espoir Club D’Abengourou, who play their football in the Ivorian third tier, alongside his brother, Carin, who also oversees the running of Zaha's foundation.

Zaha, who plays international football for the Ivory Coast, was born in the Ivorian capital of Abidjan before moving to London when he was four-years-old.

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"We have a U19 academy. We will play in the Division d’Honneur this season," Carin said. "The objective is obviously to go up, but first we want our youngsters to be in good shape and gain experience."

Zaha has become the latest Ivorian international to buy a club in the country, following in footsteps of former Arsenal winger Gervinho and ex-Bournemouth man Max Gradel, while Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie also owns a training centre there.

The Palace favourite is currently away on international duty with the Elephants, who failed to qualify for the upcoming Qatar World Cup. He played in his side's 2-1 victory over Togo on Saturday and is set for action against Guinea on Tuesday.

Did England make a mistake by letting Zaha declare for the Ivory Coast? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Zaha spent years in England's youth setup and even managed to earn a couple of caps for the senior side, though because both games were friendlies he was able to later declare for the Ivory Coast after spending a few years in the international wilderness.

Former Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson, who managed Zaha at club level, later admitted regret over not fielding the forward in a competitive match to lock him down for England.

Zaha has made a flying start to the new Premier League campaign after netting four goals in five matches, though Patrick Vieira's Eagles have only managed to win once in the opening two months of the season and find themselves just a couple of points above the drop zone.

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