Ivory Coast’s campaign in South Africa begins on 22 January when they face Togo in their opening group stage match and Kone has already joined up with his countrymen as the team begin their preparations.
If successful ‘The Elephants’ could be in the competition until the final on 10 February and Franco Di Santo says he and the team will miss 6 goal top scorer Kone. But Di Santo insists that, along with Mauro Boselli and new loan signing Angelo Henriquez, the other strikers in the squad need to work even harder to fill the gap.
Di Santo says: “We will miss Arouna while he is away at the African Cup of Nations because he has scored some vital goals for us so far this season.
“We will continue to play with confidence and we have some very good options to play up front, especially with Angelo Henriquez coming in from Manchester United.
“We’ve got Mauro (Boselli) as well who is eager to get more time on the pitch, and both strikers have the qualities that the team needs right now.
“We all play in different ways from Arouna which will be a change but that will not be a problem for us because we have a very adaptable squad.”
Di Santo admitted that he has to keep up his work rate to remain in the team and is determined to help turn in the positive results.
“The most important thing now is for everyone to pull together and keep working hard.
“I still have to work very hard, because even though Arouna has gone for a short time I need to carry on earning my place in the team and when I do, it is a pleasure for me to play for the Club and the fans.
“The partnership with Arouna has worked very well this season and he will be a big miss for us, but at the same time it opens up opportunities for Mauro and Angelo who want to show what they are capable of and all three of us have to show the hunger to be playing in the first team.”