Two famous sons of Abobo, Ivory Coast could face each other for the first time this weekend when Latics host Arsenal at the DW Stadium but, it Arouna Kone insists it will be a friendly affair.
“I come from the same neighbourhood as Gervinho so I have known him for a long time,” said the 29-year-old.
“He was playing for a club in Ivory Coast called ASEC Abidjan and he asked me for advice because I had moved to Europe a little bit earlier than him.
“Whenever I went back to Ivory Coast we would discuss things and I would pass on my experiences to help him.
“It was like being a big brother or an uncle in the way that we shared things, he is a very good friend and we still keep in touch.”
Despite not playing against each other professionally, Kone can share some insight into what he’s like to face with a football.
“When we both go back to Ivory Coast we meet up and go on holidays and sometimes play football in the street, so you could say that we have played against each other before, just not in the professional environment; but maybe I can give the defence a few tips about his style of play.”
“The Arsenal game will be the first time we have ever played against each other which will be quite strange having been such good friends.
“Gervinho started the season very well and was scoring goals but, he has just come back from an ankle injury so it will be interesting from my point of view to see how well he does for the rest of the season.”