Plane waits to take Togo players home
Monday 11 January 2010
Togo seemed set to withdraw from the African Cup of Nations last night, despite last-ditch negotiations to keep them in the tournament.
In the Angolan enclave of Cabinda – the scene of Friday's ambush which killed three people and left seven injured – a plane sent by the Togolese government sat on the tarmac ready to take the team home.
Gilbert Houngbo, the Prime Minister, had earlier held a news conference in the Togolese capital, Lome, at which he ordered the team home, despite their wishes to continue in the competition as a way of honouring their slain colleagues."If a team or some people present themselves under the Togolese flag, it will be a false representation," he said.
The team's captain and Manchester City player, Emmanuel Adebayor, confirmed that the players had listened to their Prime Minister.
"We had a meeting between players yesterday and we told ourselves we were football players and decided to do something nice for our country by playing to pay tribute to those who died," he told the French radio station RMC yesterday. "Unfortunately, the head of state and the country's authorities have made a different decision, so we will pack and go home."
But as the tournament's opening ceremony began in the capital, Luanda, it emerged that Angolan officials were meeting government representatives from three other nations in an emergency meeting so as to avoid the 2010 tournament being a team down. There was the possibility that Togo might stay after all, and Namibia and Botswana had apparently been invited to see if they could fulfil the unlikely task of sending a team to substitute should the West Africans head home.
Togo's media officer, Stanislas Ocloo, assistant coach, Amalete Abalo, and the Angolan driving the squad bus were killed when gunmen from the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) opened fire. Togo's reserve goalkeeper, Kodjovi Obilale, was in a stable condition in a South African hospital yesterday after having surgery.
Togo had been due to play Ghana today, but Group B is likely to begin as a three-team group with a game between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. While FLEC has warned of a continuing campaign of violence, Issa Hayatou, president of CAF (the Confederation of African Football), insisted yesterday that he had had assurances from the Angolan Prime Minister that security would be tightened at all venues.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Malaysia Airlines: Search for true identity of passengers with stolen passports launched as terrorism concern grows
Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...