Manchester City’s Ivorian brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure will miss the FA Cup derby with Manchester United after their national coach Francois Zahoui rejected the Citizen’s request to allow them to play, according to BBC
The Premier League leaders were hoping that Zahoui would see fit to grant the pair permission to feature in the clash before heading out to the Ivory Coast training camp ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, but the 49-year-old remained firm in his stance, insisting that FIFA regulations stating players can be called up two weeks prior to the commencement of the tournament.
He told BBC Africa: “Clubs know the rules. I’m expecting them for the Fifa deadline. The national team in Ivory Coast is led by people who are well educated and I was surprised that people in England think that we don’t know the Fifa rules about dates. Here, when we call up the players, they are obliged to turn up at the date indicated by Fifa. So when we call them up we know that the clubs need to let them go.”
Zahoui stated that he had flown to England to discuss the matter with City boss Roberto Mancini and Arsene Wenger, who has lost Gervinho’s services to the Ivory Coast. He stated that all parties should be cautious so as not to cause a stand-off between club and country, adding: “I said to the managers, ‘Be careful because there’s a great expectation here and we need our cohesion. We have our 10 days together and we need a team spirit at our training camp’. Arsene Wenger was my coach [at Nancy in France] so we have a close, respectful relationship. But even with him I said that the head of the Ivorian federation won’t mess about.”
BBC Sport also points out that Zahoui’s philosophy also affects Newcastle (Cheick Tiote) and Chelsea (Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou), with each player missing the FA Cup third round ties this weekend.