Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor will depart for the African Cup of Nations after Christmas with one message for their teammates....make the Carling Cup final.
The pair could be away for most of January due to their involvement with the Ivory Coast and Togo respectively but insist that they’ll be keeping close tabs on City’s progress during the tournament via mcfc.co.uk, TV and mobile phone.
Both players have been integral parts of Mark Hughes’ side so far this season and their absence during a hectic start to the New Year will be a blow to the Blues, who have at least seven matches scheduled in January and will play two epic Carling Cup games against Manchester United.
While both players admit the timing of their departure could have been better, they are hoping their teammates continue the team’s current fine form into 2010 – and possibly return to the Blues’ first major cup final for 29 years.
“I’ll be calling up my friends and checking how we’ve gone on,” smiled Adebayor. “It’s very frustrating missing matches, but I’ll be following our progress through various means. If we are winning, I probably won’t need to call anybody because the lads will obviously be doing well.
Missing the two games against Manchester United will be hard because, as I’ve said in the past, I’ve come here to make history and while we haven’t played in a cup final since 1981, we know we are just two games away from a Wembley appearance – and we know we can do it.
“I’ve played in the Carling Cup final before, but was on the losing side for Arsenal against Chelsea. I’d love to come back from Africa with an opportunity of another Wembley final and the possibility of leaving with a winner’s medal this time.”
Skipper Kolo Toure agrees it is difficult to leave the club on the crest of a wave and thinks the African Cup of Nations organisers should consider playing the tournament during the close season in future years.
“It is a difficult situation, having to leave your club when we are doing so well,” said Kolo. “We are proud to represent our countries, but we will miss several important City matches while we are away and that’s hard for us and the club.
“Of course, I’ll follow our results over the internet – I’ll be checking what’s happening back at the club on a daily basis and I’ll be phoning the manager and Vincent Kompany, too. I’ll know exactly what’s going on and how we’re doing.”
Ironically, Adebayor and Toure will come face to face when Togo play Ivory Coast on January 19 – the same day the Blues play the Carling Cup semi final second leg against United.
“It’s incredibly bad timing,” said Kolo. “This club has had to wait a long time to be in a semi final and to not be part of it is really difficult. But we have the players to beat United and I really believe in my heart we’re going to make it.
“It’s going to be really hot out there in Angola and for me, it’s easier to play football in cool conditions. In fact, I’m really going to miss the rain!”