Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure will not be allowed to join the Ivory Coast late in preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations and will miss Manchester City's FA Cup third round tilt against Manchester United as a result. The pair had been hoping that Ivory Coast manager Francois Zahoui would allow them to stay with the Citizens for a couple extra matches before joining the national team just before the tournament begins, but Zahoui has rejected the brothers' request.
FIFA rules dicate that clubs are required to release players two weeks before a major tournament, meaning that all players chosen for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on January 21, would have to be released by January 7. Of course, teams could allow players to stay with their clubs if they choose and the Toure brothers and Manchester City were hoping that would be the case, but Zahoui has said no.
"Clubs know the rules," Zahoui told the BBC. "I'm expecting them for the FIFA deadline."
The two will now go to France to meet up with the squad before leaving for a training camp in Abu Dhabi. City manager Roberto Mancini had been appealing for the Toure brothers to at least be allowed to play against Manchester United as he deals with a few injuries and suspensions to his squad. Kolo's absence isn't a huge problem as City are fit at the back, but Gareth Barry is out due to suspension and Owen Hargreaves isn't match fit, leaving a hole in the midfield with Yaya out. That leaves Nigel de Jong and James Milner as the team's only options, but considering United's midfield woes, that could very well be enough.