Men's Team

International Memories: Yaya at AFCON 2015

International Memories: Yaya at AFCON 2015
No fewer than 13 of Pep Guardiola’s squad received the call to represent their country during the latest international break.

City players have enjoyed some brilliant moments at international level and this week we’ll be recounting the occasions when our boys turned it on as the world was watching.

So far we've reminisced on Claudio Bravo's Copa America success in 2015 and David Silva's historic Euro 2008; today it's the turn of Yaya Toure and his 2015 African Cup of Nations triumph... 

Golden Generation

Les Elephants have produced some of the game's greatest names of recent years but none more proud to wear the famous orange shirt than the four-time African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure.

Alongside Yaya, Premier League stars including brother Kolo Toure, City teammate Wilfried Bony and Chelsea strikers Dider Drogba and Salomon Kalou have all been regulars in a period that promised much without ever delivering a trophy.

As Herve Renard's squad gathered in Equatorial Guinea in January 2015 without the talismanic figure of Drogba, it seemed that generation's chance to finally equal the 1992 AFCON success may have passed them by.

Captain Yaya, aided by new City signing Wilfried Bony, would have something to say about that.

TOGETHER: Ivory Coast's squad of stars join hands as part of their preparations for the tournament
TOGETHER: Ivory Coast's squad of stars join hands as part of their preparations for the tournament

Navigating the group

Drawn alongside Guinea, Mali and traditional African powerhouses Cameroon, Ivory Coast were going to have to be on top form from the off.

They began with two 1-1 draws at the group's adopted home in Equatorial Guinea's national stadium, Nuevo Estadio de Malabo, against Mali and Guinea and Yaya seemed lacking in inspiration.

This left what was effectively a winner-takes-all with Cameroon who, although lacking the stars of yesteryear, were a well-drilled side. Yaya stepped up his game and a Max Gradel winner saw Ivory Coast through to the quarter-finals as group winners.

Taking the difficult path

Coming up against an Algeria possessing the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Sofiane Feghouli was not an easy route for Les Elephants.

A typically towering and dominant performance from Toure in the middle of the park gave his team a firm grounding in the game. Two goals from new City teammate Wilfried Bony and a late Gervinho strike sealed the 3-1 victory.

Then came the challenge of Yannick Bolasie's DR Congo in the semi-final. It was here that Yaya truly arrived at the tournament that he was to make his own when a 20th minute thundered strike put his team ahead and then orchestrated an exciting attacking performance as Ivory Coast ran out 3-1 winners.

Heavyweight Final

Having already lost two AFCON finals, both on penalties, in his distinguished career, Yaya came into the decider with Ghana in a determined mood.

WORKING HARD: Yaya tussles with Ghana's Afriyie Acquah in a bid to get ahead in the final
WORKING HARD: Yaya tussles with Ghana's Afriyie Acquah in a bid to get ahead in the final

The game itself was a nervous affair as the two sides, who had carried the hope of the continent in the last two World Cups, felt the weight of expectation from their own supporters.

After 120 minutes and no goals, penalties would be required. Stepping up fifth and knowing he had to score to keep his team in it, Yaya tucked his away with all the ease City fans are used to.

Eventually it was Ghana goalkeeper Brimah Razak who missed in sudden death and Ivory Coast were champions!

After more than a decade proudly representing his country and club career in which he had won everything possible, Yaya Toure had an international trophy to lift!

What happened next...

Yaya retired from international football just last month and recalled the final in his statement: "I look back to the victory in 2015. It came as a big “phew”! It was a relief. Finally the Ivorian people claimed their cup after so many years.

Our generation had accomplished its mission and it was a great reward for all Ivorians, who never stopped thanking us."

Read all the latest international action from our Man City squad.