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‘United? Not this time’, Yaya declares

TOURE-IVORY-COASTNAIROBI, Kenya, October 29 – Manchester City and Ivory Coast star, Yaya Toure, stated Tuesday that cross town rivals United would struggle to defend the English Premier League (EPL) title with his side among those keen to wrest the trophy from Old Trafford.

At the same time, the midfield dynamo welcomed Uefa president Michel Platini’s proposal to expand the World Cup from 32 to 40 teams.

On United, the player who helped City to the title in 2012 before seeing his side lose it to their bitter rivals, stressed they would seek to reclaim it back.

“The league is very tight this time round but I’m confident City with the new manager we will reclaim the title this season.

“United will find it hard to defend the title since they have a new manager David Moyes and are really struggling.

“Chelsea is coming on so closely, same as Arsenal and Liverpool and not forgetting my team, City,” said the Ivory Coast star.

He declined to comment on his recent statement about African teams boycotting the World Cup due to racism after claiming he was the target of monkey chants from the stands in their Champions League game away from CSKA Moscow last week.

“I will not comment on that because there are people working on it,” he stated.

However, he backed Platini’s plan to expand the Mundial since it would see more African countries participate in the global showpiece.

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“Other African teams will take part kill the monotony of the usual teams (Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana) which qualify every time.

“Europe is usually given big slots, it can also happen in Africa where we have a lot of talent,” Toure explained.

According to the reigning African Footballer of the Year, Ivory Coast are not yet qualified for next year’s World Cup in Brazil as they prepare to face off with Senegal in the second leg of the Africa Play-offs.

“Ghana is the only team that is assured of World Cup slot after overwhelming Egypt, but for my country the 3-1 win over Senegal in the first leg doesn’t mean we are through.

“We are now going to play away in Casablanca, Morocco and I know the match will be very tough,” he told.

The Elephants will play Senegal in a neutral venue next month.

Toure was speaking in Nairobi when he was appointed the United Nations Environmental Programme goodwill ambassador where he pledged to combat the illegal ivory trade that sees thousands of African elephants killed each year.

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