Togo Team Quit Africa Cup Of Nations And Return To Lome(Goal.com)
The Togo national football team have pulled out of the Africa Cup of Nations (ACN) in Angola and decided to fly home, according to RMC radio.
On Friday the Togolese team bus was attacked by rebels as it entered the Angolan province of Cabinda, resulting in the death of the driver, and injuries to two players and two team officials.
While the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have declared that the ACN will not be cancelled, Togo's part in the tournament now appears to have come to an end as the team have arrived at an airport in order to return to Lome, the Togolese capital.
Neither the Togolese FA nor CAF have confirmed the above report at the present time.
Clubs ready to bring players back after gunmen fire on Togo buses(Guardian)
Portsmouth and Hull City last night called for their players to be brought home from the Africa Cup of Nations after an attack on Togo's team buses in Angola killed one of the drivers and wounded nine members of the squad and backroom staff.
The attack by an armed gang in Angola, where the tournament begins tomorrow, sent shockwaves through the Premier League, 12 of whose clubs have players at the event. It is understood Chelsea and Fulham would fully support any move by their players to return to England.
Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor and Aston Villa's Moustapha Salifou were on the Togo buses which came under machine-gun fire, though neither was injured. Adebayor was described by City as "shaken" and the club, who also have Kolo Touré at the tournament, were in emergency talks last night with the Football Association. Salifou said: "I am OK but extremely shocked and very upset."
Adebayor said most of the players wanted to leave and that the team would quit today if they were unsure over security. The organisers of the cup said last night that it would proceed as planned: "Our first priority is the safety of the players but the tournament will go ahead."
Portsmouth have four players there – Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda, Nwankwo Kanu and Aruna Dindane – and their chief executive, Peter Storrie, said: "This is a terrible, tragic incident and I am very concerned about this whole situation. The safety of all the players must be paramount and that's why I believe they should all come home as soon as possible.
"We have four out there and, although they are not with the Togo team, you naturally worry about their well-being in the light of such an awful attack." He said he would ask the FA to contact Fifa, the world governing body, and described it as "common sense to scrap the tournament".
Hull's manager, Phil Brown, told the Sun: "I am appalled. This throws a question mark against next summer's World Cup [in South Africa]. You cannot simply put the safety of players, officials and fans at the slightest risk. That is totally unacceptable. I have two players – Daniel Cousin and Seyi Olofinjana – on duty and I want them back home here with us as quickly as possible."
Manchester City confirmed they were in talks with the FA "over what may happen next". The FA said it Fifa and was doing "all we can to assist our clubs and those players involved. The FA is currently contacting various organisations, including Fifa."
City's manager, Roberto Mancini, said he was "relieved and thankful" Adebayor was not hurt and there was a similar reaction from Martin O'Neill regarding Salifou. There were no immediate plans to recall the 26-year-old midfielder. "I am really shocked to hear about this," O'Neill, Villa's manager, said. "Obviously I am pleased and relieved to hear that Moustapha is OK."
It is understood that Chelsea would press the case for Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Mikel John Obi to be allowed to return should the players wish to. Fulham, who have Dickson Etuhu with the Nigeria squad, are believed to have taken an identical stance.
The attack on Togo's buses took place in the Cabinda region, where group games involving Togo, a Ghana squad including Essien and Wigan's Richard Kingson and an Ivory Coast squad containing Drogba, Kalou, Dindane, Touré and Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboué are scheduled to take place.
Arsenal are believed to be monitoring events. A Wigan spokesman said they were keeping a close eye on developments. He added: "We trust Ghana's football authorities will be taking every possible step to ensure the safety of their players in light of what has happened."
Chelsea said: "We are sure the national federations have taken every care and precaution to ensure the safety of our players." Fulham said they expected Nigeria "will do everything possible to ensure the safety of the entire team at all times".
Everton said they would not call for Nigeria's Joseph Yobo and Yakubu Ayegbeni to return after getting "assurances about the safety and security".
Fifa expressed "utmost sympathy". The African Football Confederation said its president, Issa Hayatou, would meet Angola's president today "to take decisions to guarantee the smooth running of the competition".