Arouna Kone and the PSV prayer room

  Arouna Kone playing for Everton in Kiev. Image credit: Илья Хохлов/ Creative Commons

Arouna Kone playing for Everton in Kiev. Image credit: Илья Хохлов/Creative Commons

When you think of PSV Eindhoven, what names do you think of?

Perhaps greats like Ronald Koeman, for example, or the then-young Brazilian duo of Romario and Ronaldo. Maybe it’s more recent heroes, such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Phillip Cocu, Mark van Bommel and Memphis Depay.

But there’s another player – Arouna Kone – who has also had a lasting impression on the Dutch club.

It’s not strictly down to his decent scoring record for Eindhoven, where he posted a respectable return of 23 goals in 64 games, nor is it that he was part of a side that won two Eredivisie titles in his two-and-a-half seasons at the club.

  Arouna Koné celebrates with his teammates after Phillip Cocu scores in a 5-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem on the last day of the 2006-07 league campaign. PSV won the Eredivise title on goal difference, and this picture is displayed on the wall outside the press room at Philips Stadion.

Arouna Koné celebrates with his teammates after Phillip Cocu scores in a 5-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem on the last day of the 2006-07 league campaign. PSV won the Eredivise title on goal difference, and this picture is displayed on the wall outside the press room at Philips Stadion.

However, the reigning Dutch champions actually had a prayer room installed for the Ivory Coast international in the home changing room at Philips Stadion.

Kone is a devout Muslim, following in the footsteps of his father, and the religion states that Muslims must pray at five set times of the day.

When he joined the Dutch club, there was no set facility in the ground for players and staff to observe their daily prayers. So based on the suggestion of his teammates, PSV installed a prayer room.

  Inside PSV's home dressing room. On the right is the prayer room built for Kone, while the room on the   left hand   side is where the players get changed.

Inside PSV's home dressing room. On the right is the prayer room built for Kone, while the room on the left hand side is where the players get changed.

The room, with its east-facing wall decorated with the shining Sun and adorned with the quote "Where there is light, there is hope," is still there for the use of current players, and can be seen on the PSV Eindhoven stadium tour.

  PSV Eindhoven's changing room.

PSV Eindhoven's changing room.

  Inside Philips Stadion - the home ground of PSV Eindhoven.

Inside Philips Stadion - the home ground of PSV Eindhoven.

Kone eventually left Eindhoven for Sevilla in a €12 million deal. But he didn’t manage to stick there and was loaned out to Hannover and later to Levante, who went on to make the move permanent, though the club was reportedly keen to sell him immediately for a profit.

He wound up at Wigan Athletic where he was a member of their 2013 FA Cup-winning side, before following manager Roberto Martínez to Everton later that year.