Togo dedicate Afcon campaign to team members killed in bus attack

2013-01-31 13:00

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Togo have dedicated the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations campaign to the team members killed in the attack on the team bus by Angolan rebels three years ago.

The side’s captain, Emmanuel Adebayor, felt their first quarterfinal berth was aided by the bus driver, team manager and media officer – the three murdered personnel.

They died of gunshot wounds when the team was attacked on the road heading to the 2010 edition held in Angola.

Yesterday, Togo drew 1-1 with Tunisia in their final Group C at Mbombela Stadium to confirm their place in the quaterfinals.

“We were the ones getting shot at...and some people are gone,” an emotional Adebayor said after the match. “I think they were behind us wherever they are.”

“We will have a five minute prayer for them at the team hotel tonight (last night) and believe that the people we lost are behind us in this tournament.”

The Tottenham Hotspur striker retired briefly from international soccer after the attack where some players were also wounded.

Adebayor was persuaded by Togo president Faure Gnassingbe to come out of a second retirement and join the team shortly before the competition.

The player, along with Serge Gipka and Free State Stars’ Dove Wome, have aided Togo’s fortunes in the finals.

According to the side’s coach, Didier Six, the whole of Togo will celebrate the milestone achievement.

“There will be parties across Lome (the country’s capital),” a proud Six said.

“We were the little ones in Africa and now we’ve made it past the group stages of the competition.”

Meanwhile, Tunisia will be heading home with their tail between their legs as all three north African teams – including Algeria and Morocco – were eliminated in the first round stage.

The temperamental Samer Trabelsi, the coach of the 2004 champions, said: “We leave the competition with great bitterness after having dominated most of the match.”

“We knew that Togo was going to attack us.”

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso’s Alain Traore was officially ruled out of the tournament with a thigh strain yesterday.

The French-based player has shone so far with three goals scored in the campaign and is Burkina Faso’s most valued player.

They take on Togo in the quarterfinals at the Mbombela stadium on Sunday night.

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