|Verges Napoles Éli Kroupi-Zahi
|Oct 18, 1979
Sassandra, IVORY COAST
|44 years old
Côte d'Ivoire A
Éli Kroupi signed for Stade Rennais FC in 1996. This powerful centre-forward had a good first season in the Reserves in CFA (French 4th Division), and attracted the attention of David at the beginning of the 1997/1998 season. At first, his route to the starting line-up was blocked by the disappointing Bedrossian, Hobsch and Jinani. He then moved up the pecking order in the squad as of the Winter transfer window. He thus became the 4th striker at the club, behind Diawara, Goussé and Darcheville. His first appearance as substitute at Metz in a 0-1 defeat on 10th January 1998 was followed by his first start in the French Cup against Châteauroux (1-0). With the Manager preferring the midfielders in his squad, Kroupi didn’t make another appearance on the team-sheet until the last game of the season, where he came on as substitute in a crucial 1-0 win at Toulouse. The Ivory Coast native was one of the heroes who forced the result in the dying minutes of the season to assure the club’s top-flight status for another season. Loaned to Valence the following season, he finally got his career up-and-running at Lorient from 1999. In August 2005, he scored a hat-trick for Nancy in a 6-0 thrashing of his former club.