Confusion over Togo participation

The Confederation of African Football have all but disqualified Togo from the African Nations Cup by confirming the team will not be allowed to re-enter the competition if they do not take part in tonight's scheduled game against Ghana.

Confusion has reigned since Togo pulled out of the tournament in Angola and returned home after a gun attack on their team bus left three people dead last Friday.

The country's sports minister Christophe Tchao was quoted this morning saying a formal request had been made to return after a three-day period of mourning but prime minister Gilbert Houngbo has since denied they want to re-enter the tournament.

The event's organisers have been largely silent on the matter but a CAF official told reporters this afternoon that if Togo are not on the pitch come kick-off tonight, they will be out of the competition.

"Togo have not taken official steps to come back and play the African Nations Cup," he said. "We have just heard this rumour in the press.

"The referee has received the order to blow the starting whistle and if the Togolese players are not there, they will have lost the match and will be disqualified."

With the match scheduled to kick-off at 2030 GMT and the team currently back in Togo, their elimination from the tournament is now more or less official.

Despite conflicting reports, it had seemed unlikely that the team would return to the country where Friday's tragedy occurred - something which was confirmed by the Togolese prime minister today.

Houngbo told Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I do believe there is confusion. The information you have got, I'm afraid, might not be the most accurate.

"We have simply withdrawn our team, it is not a matter of withdrawing for the mourning period.

"The information that has been circulated on some websites saying the players are just back for three days' mourning and will then go back playing is quite wrong.

"We withdrew our team on the basis they have been the victim of a terrorist attack."

Houngbo has also hit out at the way Togo have been treated by CAF, insisting the decision to withdraw was not made in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, but after support from the tournament organisers proved non-forthcoming.

He added: "Management did not give us enough assurance. We would leave our team being exposed to similar risks. Therefore we decided to pull our team out of the competition against our will.

"We would have hoped that one could have serene discussion with the host country, with the confederation, to assess what has happened, assess what one has to do.

"We received no co-operation from the confederation in terms of any kind of assessment.

"Our analysis is that they want it [the shooting] to be seen as a non-event and the show must go on as planned; there mustn't be an official change and Togo is causing problems to the festival."

The Togo team returned to their home country yesterday after apparently agonising over whether to stay in Angola or not.

At first they were reportedly keen to leave but then considered staying on after a team meeting.

In the end, the decision was made for them by their government and Houngbo insisted there was no option.

He said: "What if something happened again? What is our responsibility? It is a matter of taking seriously the safety of our people.

"It is not my pleasure we withdraw. We don't want to play into the hands of the terrorists, but we have a responsibility to protect our people."

Angolan police today announced they had arrested two people in relation to the attack.

Prosecutors in the troubled Cabinda province where the shooting took place said two members of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda forces, or FLEC, were captured yesterday.

FLEC released a statement on Saturday strongly denying any responsibility for the attack which has been claimed by an splinter group of their organisation - Military Position of FLEC (FLEC-MP).

Suggested Topics
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments