The Blasters will be hoping for a change in fortunes in the new ISL season.
Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Kerala Blasters completed their final two foreign signings for the upcoming 2020-21 season on Tuesday – and one of them is Burkinabe defender Bakary Kone, Khel Now has learned. Kone signed on the dotted line in the final few hours of Transfer Deadline Day.
“Bakary Kone has signed for Kerala Blasters. He agreed terms on a six-month deal with the club,” a source close to the developments informed Khel Now. We also understand that the player visited the Indian embassy in Burkino Faso on Tuesday, in order to complete the visa formalities ahead of his arrival in India. He will fly to the country later this week and is expected to reach the Kerala Blasters team hotel on Saturday.
The CFTPK Abidjan youth product began his professional career at Etoile Filante in 2005. The following year, he signed for Guingamp and was immediately slotted to their reserves team that played in the Championnat National 2, the fourth tier of the French football. He made his debut for their first-team that played in Ligue 2 in 2007 and went on to feature in 117 matches for them across five seasons. He was also a part of their side that lifted the prestigious Coupe de France (French Cup) in 2009, beating Ligue 1 club Stade Rennais in the final.
In 2011, Kone joined Olympique Lyonnais and made 141 appearances for them in five years, winning the French Cup once again in 2011-12 and the Trophee des Champions (French Super Cup) in 2012-13. While playing for the Ligue 1 giants, he also played and scored in various competitions, including the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
The 32-year-old later went on to play for LaLiga club Malaga, Ligue 1 side RC Strasbourg Alsace (loan), Turkish Super Lig outfit MKE Ankaragucu and Arsenal Tula in the Russian Premier League. He also has 81 international caps for Burkina Fase, including 20 appearances in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Overall, he has played close to 400 matches for club and country and has registered over 10 goals and five assists.
Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters have completed a massive squad overhaul under their new Sporting Director Karolis Skinkys and head coach Kibu Vicuna.
They recently letgo of all of their foreign signings from last season, except Sergio Cidoncha, and brought in Facundo Pereyra, Vicente Gomez, Gary Hooper and Costa Nhamoinesu. The club also signed a handful of new domestic players like Nishu Kumar, Givson Singh, Ritwik Das and Sandeep Singh, while players like Sahal Abdul Samad, Rahul KP, Prasanth K, Abdul Hakku, Seityasen Singh and Jessel Carneiro were handed long-term contract extensions.
The latest addition of Bakary Kone, along with that of the Australian forward Jordan Murray will strengthen the side even further, as they look to banish the demons of their poor performances in the last three seasons of the ISL.