Kolo Toure contracts malaria on international duty

Kolo Toure Ivory Coast

The ex Arsenal and Manchester City player has been told to rest ahead of the World Cup kickoff, but should be able to participate in the tournament.

Kolo Toure, Liverpool's 33-year-old defender and the Ivory Coast's second most capped player ever, has contracted malaria while away with the national team, according to the Elephants' head of medical staff.

Both BBC Sport and Sky Sports are reporting that the former Arsenal defender was taken ill on a flight to Abidjan, ahead of heading to the Ivory Coast's training camp in the US.

"Since Wednesday Kolo has been having treatment and this treatment will end on Friday," Cyrille Dah told the Ivorian Football Federation website. "We have therefore told him to rest.

"He will not participate in the match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, but will return early next week."

Toure featured intermittently for Liverpool this season, making 24 appearances after signing from Manchester City on a free transfer.

His younger brother Yaya has won the African Player of the Year award for the last three years, and is also in the Ivory Coast squad for the World Cup.

The older Toure has made 106 appearances for his country, second only to former Spurs midfielder Didier Zokora, and will be hoping to be fit in time for the Elephants' World Cup opener against Japan on June 14th.

Former Middlesbrough and Everton striker Yakubu was first struck down with malaria while at Portsmouth in 2004, with the debilitating condition coming back to affect him at various points of his career in England, and Liverpool will be anxious that the same thing doesn't befall Toure next season, with the Ivorian vice-captain halfway through a lucrative 2-year-contract. 

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