Kolo Toure would like to see the African Nations Cup rescheduled as a summer tournament to keep everyone happy.
With the competition due to start in Angola on Sunday, the Ivory Coast and Manchester City defender admitted he is torn between his club and his country.
Toure has departed during a time of change at Eastlands with Roberto Mancini having replaced Mark Hughes as manager last month.
Not only are City pushing for a place in the top four of the Premier League, they also have a Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester United to look forward to.
"It is very difficult to leave your team for a month to play in the African Nations," Toure said. "But you are playing for your country, for your father, for your family, for your pride.
"If something can happen and something can move, it would be really fantastic for us.We are caught between two really important things in our lives but we have to go there and play for our pride.
"You have a great job with your club and start something. You just want to keep this focus but then you have to go to play for your country. It is not easy for us.''
Under Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic, Ivory Coast are making good progress and open their campaign on Monday against Burkina Faso.
The tournament has taken on extra significance in World Cup year as Toure's team have booked their place in South Africa.
Toure said:"We have a new manager and he is working really well with us. We had been playing some great football but we needed organisation and teamwork.
"That is what this manager has brought to us. We love to work for each other and try to do the best for the team, not for ourselves.''
The Manchester City defender is excited about the challenges that lie ahead for his country in 2010 and the chance to replace Egypt as champions.
"It is going to be a massive year, especially this African Nations,'' he said. "If you look at the team, we are all about the same age. The generation is really good.
"But we know it is going to be really difficult. We have to be really careful because it will be a big problem for us if we don't go through and win this cup.''
"Playing in Angola before the World Cup can be an advantage. We are going to try to use that because we have some more time together.
"It will enable us to gel much more than we used to and that can help us to be a strong team in the World Cup.''