Who are Africa's star men in the Championship?

Jonathan Kodjia of Aston Villa Harry Trump/Getty Images

The new Championship season is upon us and, as ever, there's significant African interest up and down the division, with the league a hotbed for some of the continent's finest talent.

In this feature, we focus on the very best the second tier has to offer, and profile five players who we're tipping to star in the division this season.

Which of these players will set the Championship alight this term, and who will secure promotion to the Premier League?

Jonathan Kodjia: To his immense credit, Kodjia has netted 38 goals across two seasons for fairly average teams in Bristol City and Aston Villa, and indeed, it's intriguing to imagine what might have been for those two clubs had the Ivorian not been leading the line. You suspect one - or both - would be playing in the third tier now!

The former Angers man may have struggled to assert himself at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year as the reigning champions limped out at the first hurdle, but he's a class act in the Championship.

Could he be the man to fire fallen giants Villa back to the top table at the second attempt?

Britt Assombalonga: There are no doubts about Assombalonga's quality in the second tier, he scored 15 goals in the 2014-15 season, and 14 last term.

The issue, however, is his fitness, with the Congolese forward sitting out almost the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign - he played 57 minutes - due to injury.

Read More: Five African new boys to watch in the Championship this season

This is what makes his £15 million signing by Middlesbrough from Nottingham Forest a major gamble for new coach Garry Monk.

Boro are desperate for goals, it was a lack of an offensive threat that sank them from the Prem last season, and with Jordan Rhodes and Alvaro Negredo gone, the pressure is on Assombalonga to step up...and stay fit!

Didier Ibrahim Ndong: Sunderland broke their transfer record to sign the Gabon international for £13.6 million last summer, but his maiden campaign in England ultimately turned into a nightmare as the Black Cats were relegated.

Ndong has some raw edges - and was dropped by David Moyes - but his qualities both in possession and without - he was the 15th most effective tackler in the top flight last term - are evident for all to see.

If he can keep his head in the Championship and channel his tenacity, then Ndong has the potential to be the division's outstanding central midfielder.

Adama Traore is one of the great paradoxes in English football today. How can one player be such a sublime dribbler, but so poor at actually doing anything effective in the final third?

He wasn't the only one to blame at goal-shy Middlesbrough, but a player who averages a Premier Leauge-high five successful dribbles per match, but created just one goal and scored zero clearly has areas of his game to work on!

If he stays at Boro - under the tutelage of Monk - he can be a terrifying prospect, although Newcastle United are reportedly interested in the Hispano-Malian wideman.

Rudy Gestede: One of the players who could be set to benefit from Monk's arrival at Middlesbrough - and any improvement on the part of Traore - is Benin frontman Gestede.

The towering hitman is a menacing aerial threat and while the Premier League has seemed like one step too far for the West African, he did score 20 goals in 39 Championship outings for Blackburn Rovers in the 2014-15 season.

If he gets enough game time - not a given considering the arrivals of Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher - he could ensure an immediate return to the top table for Boro.