On the 21st of October, Bakary Kone signed for the Kerala Blasters ahead of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL). By then, Kibu Vicuna had already added the likes of Vicente Gomez, Gary Hooper and Costa Nhamoinesu to his squad. The addition of Kone prompted many experts and pundits to compare Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City FC as both clubs have very strong teams on paper.
The last two seasons have been rather disappointing for the Kerala Blasters. Ninth and seventh-placed finishes in the league were definitely below the expectations for a team with their caliber. The need for change was imminent and Bakary Kone now finds himself as a part of the renaissance for the Blasters.
For the upcoming season, Kibu Vicuna has a few good options in central defense. With Nishu Kumar or Jessel Carneiro as the possible left-back options, Zimbabwean Costa Nhamoinesu will most likely occupy a center-back position. Vicente Gomez is expected to play in central midfield, leaving the vacant center-back position for either Sandeep Singh or Bakary Kone. And it is most likely that this position will be occupied by the latter.
For Kerala Blasters fans and faithfuls, here are a few things you need to know about the 32-year-old center-back.
All you need to know about Bakary Kone
#1 Third-most capped player for Burkina Faso
Bakary Kone was called up to the Burkina Faso national team for the first time in 2006 at the age of 19. This came following a few impressive performances in Ligue 2 with Guingamp. With 89 international caps to his name in 13 years, Kone is the third-most capped player for his country.
Kone was an integral member of the Burkina Faso side that played the 2013 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. His role was crucial as Burkina Faso made it to the final of the tournament, losing out to Nigeria 1-0 in the final.
#2 Made an impression with Guingamp
Bakary Kone joined Guingamp at the age of 18 and made his debut for the club in May, 2007 against Tours in a Ligue 2 match. In 2008, he became a regular part of the first team when he made 41 appearances for the club across all competitions in the 2008-09 season.
Kone was also a part of the Guingamp side that claimed the 2009 Coupe de France trophy - his only silverware with the club. He played the final against Rennes where Guingamp claimed victory 2-1. Bakary Kone played against the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Stephane Mbia and Nicolas Douchez in the final.
#3 Played in the UEFA Champions League
Kone is one of the few players in the Indian Super League this season to have played in the UEFA Champions League. Following a few impressive performances for Guingamp, he was transferred to Ligue 1 side Lyon.
Bakary Kone would go on to make over 100 appearances for the club, playing in the Ligue 1 and Champions League among several other competitions. His first goal for Lyon came in a Champions League playoff game against Rubin Kazan in 2011.
He has also played in the Spanish La Liga with Spanish side Malaga. However, he made only seven appearances in the first season with the club before getting transferred to Strasbourg in Ligue 1. This was his final footballing assignment in France before stints in Turkey and Russia.
#4 Second Burkinabe to play in the ISL, first for Kerala Blasters
Bakary Kone is only the second player from Burkina Faso to play in the ISL after Saidou Panandetiguiri, who played for the now-defunct Pune City FC in the 2014 edition of the ISL.Published 15 Nov 2020, 13:05 IST