After winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations trophy with the Ivory Coast on Sunday, Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony will not be back in England anytime soon.
Toure, captain of Les Elephants, and City’s new $38 million January signing Bony are traveling back to the Ivory Coast’s capital Abdijan to celebrate their first AFCON title since 1992 as a national holiday has been declared in the west African country.
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That means both Toure, 31, and Bony, 26, will be missing for the Citizens’ tricky trip to the Britannia Stadium against a Stoke side they lost to at home earlier this season.
Following their dramatic 9-8 penalty shootout win over Ghana on Sunday where goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the winning penalty, Bony and Toure both confirmed that they were going to spend time back in their homeland to celebrate the victory before heading back to England to help City claw back the seven-point lead Chelsea have now opened up at the top of the Premier League table.
City drew 1-1 with Hull City on Saturday, and afterwards Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that Toure and Bony would not be risked in the match.
Looking ahead to the future, City can plan to be without Toure during international breaks for the foreseeable future.
“Leaving? Retired? Me? I’m 31, my friend. No, that’s my brother [Kolo],” Toure told reporters. “When you see something, you want to repeat it. But it’s difficult, when you’ve lost it before [in two previous finals]. But now I’m very happy, and I’m going to enjoy it with my friends.”
Since Toure departed for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, Man City have failed to win any of their last four Premier League games and are slowly drifting out of the title race.