Togo withdraw from Africa Cup of Nations

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Togo's stunned players are considering pulling out of the Africa Cup of Nations after shots were fired at their team bus in northern Angola on Friday.

Two players were injured after gunmen opened fire on the vehicle in Cabinda.

Organisers insist the tournament will go ahead but Togo's players met later on Friday to discuss returning home.

"If we are still not sure [about security] then we will be leaving," captain Emmanuel Adebayor, of Manchester City, told BBC Afrique.

"It's a football game, it's one of the biggest tournaments in Africa and a lot of people would love to be in our position but I don't think anybody would be prepared to give their life.

"So I will talk with the team and we will discuss between us and take a group decision that we think is good for our careers, good for our lives and good for our families because at the end of the day it is only football.

"If I am alive I can still play football tomorrow and in one year maybe even another Cup of Nations but I am not ready to pass away now.

"I am still in shock. I don't know whether it has really stopped or not. I don't know if we are still the target or not. We see the stadium where we are supposed to play but to be honest we don't know if we are going to be able to play there, we are all still in shock."

The driver of the team's bus was killed in the incident, while nine others were injured including two players, an assistant manager, physio, goalkeeping coach and another coach.

Togo defender Serge Akakpo, who plays for Romanian club Vaslui, was hit by two bullets in the attack in Angola's oil-rich territory of Cabinda, which is due to host seven matches.

Akakpo has undergone successful surgery, while reserve goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale, who plays for French club GSI Pontivy, was also wounded, with several other players requiring hospital treatment.

"I don't think any of the players will be able to sleep after this," Adebayor added. "You cannot sleep after what we have seen today - one of your team-mates with bullets in his body in front of you, crying and losing consciousness. It is very difficult."

Togo team-mate Alaixys Romao, who plays for Grenoble in France, earlier said he thought there should be a boycott of the tournament.

"Why not cancel all the matches? We just want to go home," he said.

Team-mate Thomas Dossevi of Nantes, one of nine France-based players in the Togo squad, said: "We don't want to play this Africa Cup of Nations.

"We're thinking about our team-mates - to be hit by bullets when you've come to play football is disgusting."

Adebayor emerged unharmed from the attack along with Aston Villa midfielder Moustapha Salifou.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill expressed his shock at the incident and relief that Salifou was not among the injured.

"The club have been in contact with him and he has reassured us that he is okay but he is extremely shocked and upset, which he would be in these circumstances."

Portsmouth have four players at the tournament and club spokesman Gary Double said they had sought reassurance from the English Football Association and Fifa about their players' security.

"Our players' safety is paramount and if that can't be guaranteed the players should be sent home," he said.

World governing body Fifa also expressed their concern about the attack.

"Fifa and its President, Joseph S. Blatter, are deeply moved by today's incidents which affected Togo's national team, to whom they express their utmost sympathy," said a statement.

"Fifa is in touch with the African Football Confederation (CAF) and its President, Issa Hayatou, from which it expects a full report on the situation."


Edited by Rappy
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in Angola's oil-rich territory of Cabinda, which is due to host seven matches.

Good luck with that. Since it came out that the CAN was going to be held in Angola, that I've been saying that it would be a bad idea to host games in Cabinda. They're just throwing themselves into a ****storm.

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Togo withdraw from Africa Cup of Nations

Togo have pulled out of the Africa Cup of Nations as the death toll following the attack on their team bus in Angola rose to three, according to reports.

The assistant coach, press officer and driver were killed. Two players were shot and injured in Friday's attack.

Organisers insist the tournament will go ahead and are stepping up security.

But Togo midfielder Alaixys Romao told French paper L'Equipe: "We're talking to the other teams in our group to try to convince them to boycott too."

Togo were due to play Ghana in their opening match in the northern Angola province of Cabinda, where the attack took place, on Monday.

Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso are the other teams in Group B.

Togo coach Hubert Velud told French radio station RMC that he thought the Angolan authorities should consider cancelling the entire tournament.

"We can at least pose ourselves that question," he said. "It's an act of barbarism while we are here to celebrate African football.

"We left the hospital a short time ago to come to the centre for the teams in the competition. We stayed in the hospital a long time so that we could be very united.

"In these situations you become a bit paranoid, you doubt everything. We don't feel that the authorities are taking this very seriously."

Aston Villa's Togolese midfielder Moustapha Salifou was thankful for the presence of the security team after he emerged unscathed from the incident, which happened after the team had entered Angola from neighbouring Congo, but he said he felt lucky to be alive.

He told Villa's website: "Our security people saved us. They were in two cars, about 10 of them in total, and they returned fire.

"The shooting lasted for half an hour and and I could hear the bullets whistling past me. It was like a movie.

"It was only 15 minutes after we crossed the border into Angola that we came under heavy fire. The driver was shot almost immediately and died instantly so we were just stopped on the road with nowhere to go.

"I know I am really lucky. I was in the back of the coach with Emmanuel Adebayor and one of the goalkeepers. A defender sat in front of me took two shots in the back.

"The goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale Dodo, one of my best friends, was shot in the stomach and was flown to South Africa to undergo an operation to save his life.

"It was horrific. Everybody was crying. I don't know how anyone can do this.

"I am back at our camp in Cabinda with my team-mates but we all want to go home to Togo. We have made our decision. We can't play in these circumstances and want to leave for home.

"We don't want to compete in the tournament because our assistant manager and the press officer have been killed. As a team we have made this decision."

Togo captain, and Manchester City striker, Adebayor, who was on the coach but also unharmed, has been told by his club that he will be given as much time as needs to recover from the attack.

On Friday he said many of his team-mates wanted to go home.

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It's Angola's responsibility to ensure the safety of the teams in their country. Just like it's the responsibility of football teams to ensure their fans behave.

Can you imagine the outcry if it was someone like Adebayor that got shot?

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So what happens to Group B now? Do the remaining teams get automatic 3-0 (Last time I checked, that was the score given for a fortfiet) walkovers against Togo?

And yes, I'm sure there would have been much harsher repercussions had Adebayor been hurt in anyway.

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