Kolo Toure claims African players are victimised by clubs in England & says non-football reasons explain lack of playing time at Manchester City

The defender believes he is paying for competing in Africa Cup of Nations in 2010 and thinks it will only get worse in future, while taking swipe at team-mate Stefan Savic

Kolo Toure insists that he is being frozen out of Manchester City because he plays for the Ivory Coast, believing he is paying the price for taking part in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2010.

The defender has participated in just four Premier League outings this season after returning from his six-month drug ban and has hit out at his lack of playing time, suggesting that he is not being left out for football reasons, and taken a swipe at team-mate Stefan Savic's performances.

He is quoted by So Foot as saying: “I know my qualities and I have got nothing to prove here in England. They know me here. When you look at the performance of [Stefan] Savic against QPR, excuse me but I am relaxed.

“To compete in the Africa Cup of Nations is catastrophic for a player these days. Coaches no longer want to sign players because of it. I feel it’s going to be more difficult for the Africans in football in the future.

“I’m convinced that, if I’m not playing for City, then it’s not only for football reasons. If it was only about that then I would be playing every week. I’m a victim of that and it has to be said.

“When I was in Angola for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2010 the club hired a plane so that I could get back quickly to play in a game against Manchester United. I could not get back in time and we lost. I believe the club have not got past that and I’m paying for it now.”

The former Arsenal man also believes that the likes of him and his brother Yaya Toure, who are both expected to be unavailable for Manchester City for three weeks when they play in the competition next month, are being discriminated against.

He added: “Clubs at this level always have big squads. It goes one way and then the other. I was captain here and so was Carlos Tevez. He is no longer here and who would have thought that would have happened? African players are the victim of discrimination.”

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