Countdown, Togo to play, shameful Pompey
T minus 21 hours to CUP O NATIONS kickoff! Get psyched with the top 10 goals of CAN2008:
Proceedings are going ahead despite the Togolese bus attack. And Togo, despite earlier reports that they would pull out of the competition, are now saying that they will stay and play.
Thomas Dossevi told the AFP news agency the players wanted to stay in Angola in memory of the three people who were killed when rebels fired on their bus. L’Equipe quoted Alaixys Romao as saying the team would not leave like cowards. […]
“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,” Thomas Dossevi said. “It was a decision taken nearly unanimously by the team which met during the night after having been reassured by the Angolan authorities,” he added. Alaixys Romao also said the decision had been unanimous.
Reports have been conflicting, with Manchester City reporting that Adebayor was already on his way home to Manchester. Hopefully things should be sorted out by tomorrow’s opening ceremonies, but I do hope they’ll decide to stay (if only for selfish desire for added cultural-athletic dramatics).
The initial response to the attacks from some European clubs—Portsmouth FC in particular—was pretty shameful.
The club with the greatest concerns over security is Portsmouth, which has Nwankwo Kanu with Nigeria, Aruna Dindane with Ivory Coast, and both Nadir Belhadj and Hassan Yebda in the Algeria squad.
“We have asked the (English) Football Association to ask FIFA how safe it is and to guarantee the safety of our players,” Portsmouth spokesman Gary Double told The Associated Press. “Our players’ safety is paramount and if that can’t be guaranteed the players should be sent home.”
Portsmouth hoped to take advantage of this awful tragedy in order to get their players sent back to England, not for any worry regarding their safety, but simply in order to bolster their squad for next week’s Premier League games.
Other European managers, such as “One” Arsène Wenger, showed a greater sensitivity, insisting that his players should stay, and play, for the good of football, and for the good of the continent:
“We won’t be asking Fifa to release them, and I’ll be happy for Eboué to play in Cabinda on Monday,” said Wenger. “I believe it would be disrespectful to Africa and the Africa Nations Cup [to bring them home]. You can’t always encourage Africa to develop and if something happens say ‘come back to Europe’.”
The manager added: “I don’t believe you can just stop any competition for any incident, because that would be a reward for the people who provoke these atrocities. It would mean any competition could be stopped at any time.
“An international federation has to make sure the security is well respected and good enough for the event. Of course, you have to leave it individually to some players so that, if they feel insecure or scared, they have the possibility to come away from it. But I personally feel the competition has to go on.”