Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has spoken of his dismay at missing the Manchester derby on Sunday.
The Ivory Coast international has been called up to his country’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations and will leave tomorrow.
Roberto Mancini had hoped an agreement could be made for Yaya and his brother Kolo to join up with the squad after the FA Cup third round tie, but the Ivorian FA refused their request.
“I am very sad. Missing the FA Cup derby is a real pain after I have spent weeks trying to seek a solution,” said Toure
“But the Federation would not accept us leaving it to Sunday. I am suffering a lot over this.”
Ivory Coast manager Francois Zahoui denied this request and was forthright in his comments to the BBC.
“Clubs know the rules, I'm expecting them for the Fifa deadline,” he said.
“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.
“Don't turn this into a stand-off. Our call-up day is 7 January. I hope and pray they respect this date and that there's not a conflict between clubs and the federation.”
Zahoui has scheduled a team meeting in Paris for Saturday before the squad flies to its pre-tournament training camp in Abu Dhabi.
Roberto Manicni has bemoaned the decision and has claimed it leaves his squad down to the bare bones – he even claimed he will struggle to fill his bench.
Gareth Barry is suspended and Owen Hargreaves is no thought to be fit enough to play, which leave only James Milner and Nigel De Jong who have played in central midfield with any regularity.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms