Staying home

The Togo squad have flown from Angola to mourn those who died in Friday’s terrifying attack from Cabinda separatists, in which three were killed during a 30-minute long fire fight as the team bus crossed the border into Angola. The team were ordered to return home by Togo’s prime minister Gilbert Houngbo, who sent the presidential plane for them and said ‘it would be irresponsible to just pretend nothing has happened and just let the show go on.’

‘We have to mourn our dead, we're going back to do so. We're very sad,’ said Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who also added that the team wanted to stay and play on. Togo’s sports minister Christophe Tchao even asked CAF (the Confederation of African Football) if they could rejoin the tournament later, although how that would work in practice hasn’t been explained. In any case, their request to continue in the tournament has been denied by CAF.

‘The head of state [Faure Gnassingbé] has decided we will return,’ Adebayor told a French radio station. ‘There was a meeting between players yesterday and we said we were still footballers. We all decided to do something good for the country and play to honour those who died. Unfortunately the head of state and the country's authorities have decided otherwise.

‘It was also our families who called us. They told us we could continue if we wished but that it is the authorities who have the information. Is there going to be another attack? Nobody knows.’

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