December 2, 2020

City lose Toure brothers for United clash

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Ivory Coast coach Francois Zahoui has rejected Manchester City’s request to play Yaya and Kolo Toure in Sunday’s Manchester derby in the FA Cup.

“Clubs know the rules,” Zahoui told BBC Africa. “I’m expecting them [the Toures] for the Fifa deadline.”

Under Fifa rules, players can be called up two weeks before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations on 21 January.

City had hoped the Toure brothers would be able to play against United before joining the Ivory Coast training camp.

But Zahoui insists they report for a meeting in Paris on Saturday before flying out with the rest of the squad to Abu Dhabi for a two-week training camp.

“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,” Zahoui added.

“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 said he had travelled to England to discuss the matter with Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who will lose Gervinho to the Ivory Coast.

Gervinho has made 24 appearances for the Gunners this season since signing for £10.5m from Lille.

Zahoui warned managers not to turn the situation into a “stand-off” between club and country.

He added: “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’.

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