Previously capped by his country at U-21 level, the versatile and wispy midfielder left his first club ASEC Mimosas in 2008 after four years spent learning his trade and making his breakthrough in increments.
Determined to succeed overseas, the Abongoua native set sail for Romania and Cluj, where he discovered the UEFA Champions League and was able to parade his skills in front of a wider audience. Six months after arriving in Europe, he took part in the 2008 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing, helping Côte d'Ivoire reach the quarter-finals, but he struggled upon his return to the club game and was increasingly left on the bench.
Cluj decided to send him out on loan to domestic rivals International Curtea last summer, and Kone responded with three goals in 22 appearances for his new team as the change in surroundings seemed to do him good. It helped him retain the confidence of Vahid Halilhodzic too, the former Elephants boss fielding him seven times during the qualifiers. In total, Kone contested 390 minutes and helped his country record four wins and three draws.
Now, with South Africa beckoning, Kone will again be looking to the international game to help boost his morale, while also hoping to raise his profile and perhaps earn a move to a major European championship.