••• BOLAS & BANDEIRAS •••

Togo (really?) out? FLEC flacks captured?

Posted in Uncategorized by Steven Villereal on January 11, 2010

Togo's Decider: Gilbert Houngbo

Sooo, it’s Day 2, the Day After Day 1. In an on-again-off again saga that truly tested the wobbly journalistic legs of newborn BOLAS & BANDEIRAS, it looks like the Togo squad is officially out of the tournament. After the team’s emotional post-attack meeting in which they decided to soldier on in tribute to their fallen comrades, they were ultimately summoned home by Togo’s Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo. Still, they expressed interest in returning to the Cup of Nations after a 3-day mourning period…however the possibility to this has now been nixed by tournament administrators.

I guess I can sympathize with the Cup organizers, who might be daunted by the last-minute juggling required to allow Togo a 3-day reprieve, but surely television schedules could be put on the back burner in light of this tragedy. The more disappointing decision comes on the part of Togo’s functionaries/sports bureaucracy. Maybe there was no consensus on what was best for the team, but clearly the players wanted to stay on and participate in the Cup, rather than leaving “like cowards” (as Alaixys Romao put it). You’d have to think it’s demoralizing (maybe even emasculating) for them to be so dramatically overruled by tut-tutting government types.

meanwhile…Correspondent Audrey sez:

Angolan press agencies are reporting that two members of the FLEC group that attacked the Togolese team have been captured “at the site of the incident, on the road to Massabi that links Angola and Congo.”

After the utter failure of their previous attempts to rouse international sympathy for their struggle, Friday’s attack can only been seen as an ill-advised publicity stunt. But as former BBC correspondent Lara Pawson describes, the political landscape in Cabinda has become increasingly murky over the past several years. If, in fact, the two captured members are indeed responsible for the attack, one can only hope they won’t be subject to the same “indiscriminate repression” and abuses that Human Rights Watch denounced the Angolan government for earlier this year.

(Misguidedly?) Letting your FLEC flag fly

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