Drogba 'mentally unfit to play' after terror attack

Ivory Coast's captain 'is struggling to come to terms' with Togo bus atrocity

Didier Drogba was described yesterday as in the "wrong state of mind" to play in the African Nations Cup by one of the survivors of the terrorist attack on the Togo team bus in Angola that left three dead.

In the aftermath of the attack, Drogba, the Ivory Coast captain, spoke to the Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor and that conversation was related to the rest of the Togo team, who yesterday withdrew from the Nations Cup and flew out of Angola under orders from their nation's prime minister. Adebayor's Togo team-mate Alaixys Romao, who plays for the French Ligue 1 club Grenoble, said: "There was a long discussion between Drogba and Adebayor. Drogba said he was fully aware of the psychological state that the Togo squad was in, and he too was not ready to play in this African Nations Cup."

Drogba will, in all likelihood, have no choice but to play after Ivory Coast, who face Burkina Faso today, came under intense pressure from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to stay in the tournament. The competition was plunged into disarray by Friday's attack on the Togo team who, having overturned their original decision to withdraw, were ordered home by the Prime Minister, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo.

In an interview with the French newspaper L'Equipe, Romao also said that there would have been a different reaction if a bigger nation than Togo had been attacked. "If it had been Ivory Coast or Cameroon; or if [Samuel] Eto'o or Drogba had taken a bullet, the competition would have been stopped immediately."

Drogba could not be contacted by his representatives in London yesterday but he is understood to be in Angola with the rest of the Ivory Coast squad. His Chelsea team-mate Michael Essien has flown to Angola to join up with the Ghana squad today.

Adebayor told a French radio station yesterday that the Togo team had decided to stay and play in the tournament before the order came from Houngbo. It is understood that Manchester City are sending a plane to pick him up from Lome, the capital of Togo.

The club do not yet know whether he will be eligible to play for them against Everton on Saturday, given that Togo have effectively defied Fifa.

Describing his feelings during the attack, Adebayor said: "On Friday, we were all dead on that bus. We sent our last messages to our families. We called to say our last words. I told myself: 'If you're still there on the ground in Angola, why not play?' The authorities decided we should return home, so we will."

In a press conference in Lome, Houngbo said: "We took into account the players' change of mind. In remembering those who lost their lives we also need to take into account what the families think is the best way to pay tribute to them. That does not overtake the importance of security, and security is non-negotiable.

"So far we have not had a single call, even a call of sympathy from CAF. We don't even have information that will allow us to assess security. It would be irresponsible of us to pretend nothing had happened; that the show must go on."

While the governments of Namibia and Botswana have proposed that their national teams replace Togo, the favoured plan is to proceed with just three teams in Group B: Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. Ivory Coast's Bosnian coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, said: "Everybody here is confused and scared, but we want to play because we don't want to surrender to terrorists. But I'm not scared because the army and police are all around. We're surrounded by them and there's almost no contact with the outside world.

"The players are a bit scared, but not me. I had good training - I lived through much worse things in Mostar [he was shot in the conflict in Bosnia]."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003