Kolo Toure has urged the organisers of the African Cup of Nations to consider radically changing the tournament to avoid clashing with Europe's major domestic leagues.
The 2010 tournament is poised to begin in Angola and Ivory Coast international Toure has admitted the January timing is far from ideal.
Toure has regularly missed periods of the Premier League season while competing in the biennial competition for former club Arsenal.
New club Manchester City recently appointed a new manager in Roberto Mancini and have vital league games plus a Carling Cup semi-final meeting with Manchester United on the horizon which Toure will miss.
"It is very difficult to leave your team for a month to play in the African Nations," he 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."