Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony has been ruled out of Ivory Coast’s World Cup qualifying doubleheader against Liberia.
Bony limped off in City’s 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw at Aston Villa on Sunday because of a hamstring injury, with Blues boss Manuel Pellegrini saying afterwards he did not think the 26-year-old would be able to play during this international break. It was subsequently confirmed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Wednesday that Bony would not be involved in the Elephants’ clashes on Friday and at home next Tuesday due to injury.
Another City player who will not feature in those matches is midfielder Yaya Toure – although he has declared he will be “ready” to rejoin the national team next year. Toure, who won the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast in February, has not been part of the squad of late having wanted a rest, but it seems he is not about to retire from international football.
Quoted on the CAF website, he said: “I think the next appointment after this (the Liberia games) will be in 2016 with the continuation of qualifying for the 2017 African Nations Cup. In any case, I’ll be ready.”
Regarding his current absence, Toure said:
“With all due respect to our new coach, Michel Dussuyer, I wanted to have a moment of respite.
“I was coming back from a long period of intense activity with the Elephants and the end of an exhausting season with my club Manchester City. I even had injuries.
“During the off-season I cut short my vacation in Abidjan to return to the club so I could be subject to a rigorous fitness program.
“I had to follow to the letter and strictly my physical preparation program during this period under the supervision of private coaches.”
Meanwhile, City captain Vincent Kompany was once again not involved in full training with Belgium on Wednesday. That had also been the case on Tuesday, with it being understood the reason was not an injury but because he did a recovery session instead owing to the fact he had played only two days earlier. And Belgium boss Marc Wilmots said on Wednesday that Kompany was one of a group of players who were “following an individual program of rehabilitation indoors.”
He added: “What matters now is the mental and physical regeneration.
“It’s important to recover as much as possible for the two (home friendly) games against Italy and Spain (on Friday and Tuesday respectively). That’s why they are rested.”
Kompany’s fitness was a hot topic from the last international break, with Pellegrini expressing his unhappiness the defender had played for his country after missing five City games with a calf problem. Kompany played around an hour of Belgium’s 3-1 win over Israel on Oct. 13 then was an unused substitute for City four days later, and only got on in the dying seconds another four days after that, before being restored to the Blues first XI for the Manchester derby.
Wilmots is making no apology for his handling of Kompany and stressed the decision about the run-out against Israel was made jointly by the coach and player:
“I think we did exactly what we had to do.
“In this case a player and a manager had a conversation and agreed playing for 60 minutes would be the best preparation. Vincent agreed and we made the decision together.
“His situation is that he is a top professional player of 30 years who knows exactly what he needs to do to be fit. I allow him to work how he wants.
“Many players come here injured and return healthy and match fit. I don’t think we can do any better.”
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