CAF Bans Togo

February 4, 2010 at 5:56 am | Posted in General Football | 6 Comments

In an absolutely astonishing and disgraceful move, the African Football Confederation (CAF) has banned Togo from the next two African Nations Cups.  Togo’s political leaders recalled their team after they suffered the atrocity of being machine-gunned by rebels in the Angolan province of Cabinda.   Three men died (a press officer, the bus driver and a coach) and one player was critically injured.  The players suffered a thirty-minute ordeal in which they watched men die a brutal death.  Footage after the incident demonstrated the players were in shock.  Manchester City striker Adebayour was so traumatized he could not eat for days.

Togo’s political leaders made the right decision to pull their team from the tournament. Concerned for the players safety and the possibility of further attacks, and being concerned for the player’s well being considering what they had been through,  they made the right decision.   While some players wanted to play on, they simply cannot be taken to be in their right mind.

To punish Togo and its players after the ordeal they went through is so stupid it is beyond belief.   The CAF must take its fair share of the blame for the incident when it allowed Angola to hold matches in a disputed province which has a violent rebel movement within it.

The CAF is clearly run by people who are incompetent to run a tournament.  This decision demonstrates they are morally bankrupt as well.

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  1. The decision demonstrates more than that… it demonstrates the big egos of tournament organizers and CAF officials who obviously feel embarrassed that this happened at the cup event.

    So what do they do? Blame the victims.

    It doesn’t make sense, but I guess they would have felt less embarrassed if Togo had stayed and played in the games.

  2. And the timing was off, why would they announce this before the final game?? Reading is believing, so I searched this article out for everyone. Not saying I agree with this, but this is the contrarian position. Somehow too, the death count was downgraded to 2.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/international/article7010434.ece

    “Beneath the surface, decision to ban Togo from Africa Cup of Nations is to be lauded (headline)

    On the face of it, the decision seems ludicrous. … You get banned for the next two tournaments by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

    CAF’s announcement that Togo would not be allowed to enter the next two continental tournaments met howls of outrage. And, indeed, it is shocking, until you read CAF’s justification. Togo were banned not for withdrawing from the competition — given the circumstances, it would have been more than understandable — but because the decision to pull out was taken by the Togolese Government, which apparently overruled the players, who reportedly wanted to play.”

    (excerpt, please go to article to read in full, it is only a few paragaphs.)

    • Cloughie: I think that the political officials were correct to take the decision out of the player’s hands. In the first place, the hosts and the CAF should have taken the responsibility for ensuring the safety of the participants. Togo made the foolish decision to travel by bus rather than by air (as the Angolan government recommended) but adequate security still should have been provided. Furthermore, the players are playing as representatives of the Country itself, not on their own accord. As a precedent, where countries have boycotted sporting events such as the Olympics, the decision of the country takes precedent over the feelings of the athletes. Furthermore, the testimony from Adebayour after the event demonstrates the players were suffering from shock. Any responsible government would take the players wish to play on with a grain of salt.
      I did notice that the death count dropped to two, which is a bit odd, as I understood the driver, a press agent and a coach were killed and the reserve keeper was shot in the back, but is recovering…

  3. I checked out the article which is rather foolish. To suggest a country’s FA is politically independent of that Country’s government seems rather unrealistic for a start. Especially when the national team represents the country, not the FA..

  4. I apologise for writing a bit here: please have patience.

    “I checked out the article which is rather foolish. To suggest a country’s FA is politically independent of that Country’s government seems rather unrealistic for a start. Especially when the national team represents the country, not the FA..”

    If you read about the dealings of Fifa, that is a big deal with them, countries have been suspended because their governments got involved or as the below article reads, politics was involved.

    Kenya, Albania, Chad, Iraq and usually, it doesn’t last long as the countries’ FAs and government get in line so as to end the suspension immediately. It’s not an important matter to me, I just know that is a big deal to Fifa. Even before this African Cup, this article written in December of last year shows Togo and numerous other countries were being monitored for government interference.

    http://www.playthegame.org/news/detailed/more-countries-under-fifa-monitoring-for-government-interference-4612.html

    “FIFA has suspended a dozen members in the past five years over signs of political interference but took no action, when in November, the Guinea football team was reportedly dissolved by the country’s minister of sports after Mamadi Souare’s team failed to qualify for both next year’s World Cup finals and the 2010 African Nations Cup.”

    ————-

    I’m reading a book “Modern Football is Rubbish”, they talk about the 1990 World Cup and said Cameroon was the bright spot of an otherwise, lacklustre tournament. I just bring this to your attention because I was reading one of your blog entries and I think you said close to the same thing, if not you, then I read it elsewhere.

    In this last bit about Africa, I hope you don’t mind, that perhaps, some people “adopt” an African nation to cheer for when the African or World Cup come. I’ve cheered for Nigeria, in ’02, when England and Nigeria played, I did not care (much) who won but I believe Nigeria could only advance by winning, the two teams drew, I believe England was qualified already or close to it.

    • I see your point about political interference, but in an extreme case such as the Togo team bus being shot up for 30 minutes, higher political officials other than football ones need to get involved.

      I am a big supporter of African teams and I adopted Cameroon as my team in 1982 and 1990. Cameroon were by far my favourite team in Italia 90. I have written about Cameroon in my previous blogs in my “World Cup Memories” section. Cameroon have been very lacklustre since then, but I believe Ivory Coast will do some damage this coming tournament if Drogba gets the service he needs. Frankly, I am pulling for all of them and would love to see an African team win. I think that the farthest an African team could possibly get this time is to the semi-finals, but that is a bit of a stretch. African teams usually get into card trouble because of their physical approach to the game, but perhaps they will get more latitude from the refs since this is an African world cup. If they get into card trouble, inferior players have to play while bans are served, and the whole projects tends to bog down. I see Nigeria have sacked their coach so their projects seems to have fallen into disarray. In any case, Go the Elephants!!!


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