One Rule For One…
Jonathan Kodjia missed the Cardiff City game due to having to join the Ivory Coast’s two-week training camp before the 2017 African Cup of Nations.
Steve Bruce was visibly frustrated as he implied that the Ivory Coast football federation had been a tad awkward in not allowing the Villa striker a reprieve to play at Cardiff, with Villa reported offering to fly the player by private jet to Paris to catch up with the Ivory Coast squad.
Despite not eventually playing in the Championship fixture, Ghana had granted Villa an extra day for Jordan Ayew to be part of Villa’s travelling squad to Cardiff.
So if the Ivory Coast were being so strict with Villa over Kodjia, how do they explain the fact that Wilfried Zaha has been given special dispensation to play for Crystal Palace a day after Villa’s fixture, before going to the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast?
The Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha had recently submitted a request to Fifa to swap his international allegiance from England to the Ivory Coast.
Abidjan-born Zaha grew up in England and won two caps for England, but because they were in friendly games he was still allowed to make the switch.
The change was obviously timed primarily so Zaha could feature in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Considering the switch was made in late November when fixtures were known, was a later meet-up date part of the deal? Or did Big Sam sort out a deal?
Favouritism to Premier League clubs could have been a possible charge, if it was not for the fact that Manchester United also had a request to the Ivory Coast football federation to keep defender Eric Bailly for an extra fixture fall on deaf ears.
Regardless of Zaha’s arrangement, it’s odd that despite Villa offering the Ivory Coast to have Kodjia with them a full day before Zaha, they refused such a request bearing in mind they were ok with Zaha turning up even later.
Were the Ivory Coast simply being a pain in the rear end? That’s a question for the next Villa press conference.
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