Sunderland defender called up for Africa Cup of Nations duty

Lamine Kone in action against Manchester United.
Lamine Kone in action against Manchester United.
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Sunderland defender Lamine Kone has been named in Ivory Coast's provisional squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

The powerful defender, signed from Lorient for £5million in January, has been named in the 24-man squad for the tournament in Gabon which starts in January.

Kone will be able to play against Burnley at Turf Moor on New Year’s Eve and then against Liverpool at the Stadium of Light on January 2 before heading off on international duty.

Ivory Coast start their ACN campaign against Togo on January 16 and he could miss anything up to six Sunderland fixtures, should his country get to the final on February 5.

There are two FA Cup weekends, Burnley at home on January 7 with a potential fourth-round date scheduled for the 28th.

Sunderland, who will lose Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia) and Didier Ndong (Gabon), have Premier games against Stoke (h), West Brom (a), Spurs (h) and Crystal Palace (a) during the tournament.

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has also been named in the Ivory Coast squad, along with Manchester United defender Eric Bailly and Stoke City forward Wilfried Bony.