CAF 2010: Togo in Angola despite Attack

The Togo national football side will play in the African Nations Cup, one of the players Thomas Dossevi told AFP early this morning, despite an earlier decision to pull out.

“In memory of the dead, the national team has decided to play in the African Nations Cup,” said Dossevi. The players had initially said they didn’t want to play in the tournament, and the government recalled the team, following Friday’s machine gun ambush by Cabinda separatists that killed an assistant coach and squad spokesman.
“We are all heartbroken, it is no longer a party, but we want to show our national colours, our values and that we are men,” he said.

“It was a decision taken nearly unanimously by the team which met during the night after having been reassured by the Angolan authorities,” Dossevi added.
Three members of the Togolese contingent died following the attack by terrorists, who opened gunfire on the bus conveying the team from their training camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rebels of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) fighting for independence for the oil-rich enclave claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place as members of the team were completing immigration formalities at the border.
Among those killed in the shooting, which is said to have lasted for more than 15 minutes are the assistant coach, press officer and driver. Two players were also injured. Defender Serge Akakpo, who plays for Romanian club Vaslui, was hit by two bullets (including one in the stomach) and had to be flown to South Africa for treatment.

In related developments, the President of the Confederation of African Football had an extensive discussion with the Prime Minister of Angola. Following the meeting, President Issa Hayatou received all the assurances that security will be beefed up at all the competitions venues as requested by the various delegations.

After the meeting, President of CAF flew immediately to Cabinda to meet the four teams of group B. He was accompanied by almost the entire executive members of CAF, the General Secretary as well as the executive director of COCAN.

A meeting was organised at the Cabinda airport lounge, the president and executive members of CAF agreed in perfect harmony, along with Angolan authorities to retain the matches of group B in Cabinda.

The delegation visited the four teams, Mr. Hayatou spoke to the Togolese players, medical team and the management. He expresses CAF deepest sympathy following the sad event which occurred on Friday. The CAF President said “You came here to play football but unfortunately two of your brothers were killed. I am feeling terribly bad and short of words.”

While addressing the players, the president of CAF said “It is left to you to decide to stay in a competition synonym of fraternity, brotherhood, friendship and solidarity. And incase you decide to leave the competition, we will definitely understand your decision and it will be accepted. It is a difficult choice, individual choice and also collective choice, you are the only one can decide.”

The CAF president visited Ivorian delegation, he extended the same message of sympathy and compassion “we are in a deep shock following the tragic incident that happened to our Togolese brothers and friends.”

The vice president of the Ivorian football association responded “our players are traumatised and it is difficult under this circumstance to focus on the game. What we want from you to intervene to the authorities to guarantee our security.”

They visit to the Burkinabe delegation did not last long because the players were having their training. Finally, he ended his visit with the Ghana team, the players as well as the members of the delegation listened carefully the message of encouragement from the leaders of African football.

source – CAF



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