English Premier League football club Manchester City has been granted special dispensation to delay Yaya Toureâ€™s departure for the Africa Cup of Nations. The Ivory Coast international had looked set to miss out on the Football Association Cup third round match against Manchester United and the first leg of the League Cup (Carling Cup) semifinal matchup with Liverpool, but he will now be able to feature in both matches.
Although glad he can take part in two important matches, Toure admits to feeling indifferent about the situation, with his loyalties split between club and country. The star midfielder told reporters, â€œOur country needs people like myself and Didier Drogba because there is a war and itâ€™s important we do what we can for our people, but this is also a crucial time of the season. There are two crucial months coming up and now I am going to miss one of them. The team, the club and the manager need me, but I will have to go away and play in a different competition. Itâ€™s difficult as I am very focused for City and we need all the players. I have to go because my country is going through some difficult things, but I am a little bit guilty and confused about it. My loyalties are divided and I do feel a little bit sad. But City will cope.â€
The tournament, hosted in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, begins on January 21st, with Ivory Coastâ€™s first match taking place in Malabo against Sudan on January 22nd. Meanwhile, Manchester City sit atop the English Premier League with 38 points, two points ahead of cross-town rival Manchester United.