Salifou still traumatised by attack

05 February 2010 07:14
The Aston Villa midfielder feared he was going to die after gunmen opened fire shortly after the coach had crossed the border into Angola.

Three people, including the coach driver, died in the incident which led to Togo withdrawing from the competition.

Salifou is back training with his Villa team-mates at Bodymoor Heath, but he has still to play a game at any level since the attack and the memory of what occurred is never far from his mind.

He said: "You have to try and move on from what happened and it is hard to forget.

"It is difficult to sleep at night. Since I came back here, I keep waking up at three or four o'clock in the morning.

"I dream and think about what happened.

"I have been training and I watched the Carling Cup semi-final against Blackburn and the Arsenal game at Villa Park last week.

"I have to start playing again at some stage, with the reserves or whatever, but thoughts of what happened are never far away.

"I feel for the people who have died and been injured. I have to move on from this but it is not easy."

Salifou admits he thought he was going to die during the 30-minute attack.

He said: "We crossed the boundary into Angola after being given assurances the road was safe and after 15 minutes people started to shoot at the coach.

"The Angolan government told us everything is okay in their country. If they had told us it was not safe, we would have flown in.

"The attackers shot the driver and after two or three minutes all the players had to lie on the floor and everyone was just crying. We had to wait for 30 minutes.

"I did not feel I would make it off that bus alive. We had to lie on the floor and the gun shots passed over our heads. There was blood on the floor of the coach.

"To be honest, I was thinking everyone was going to die in the coach.

"We were told to stop crying and screaming because, if we did that, the attackers would know we were still alive."

Salifou also believes Togo have been banned from the next two African Nations Cups because they are "a small nation" after their withdrawal from the finals.

He is adamant the Confederation of African Football (CAF) would not have taken the same course of action had one of the leading countries such as Cameroon or Ivory Coast adopted the same approach in similar circumstances.

Salifou even feels the 2010 competition would not have gone ahead had a major nation experienced the same traumas.

He said: "If we had returned to the tournament, there were going to be no sanctions against Togo. Now they say we have a four-year ban.

"They treat us like they have because we are a small country. If it had been Cameroon or the Ivory Coast, nobody is going to say they are banned from two African Nations Cups.

"Because it is Togo, a small country, they have banned us.

"Have we been picked on? Yes, I think so. If the crime had been against Cameroon or the Ivory Coast, they would never have played the African Nations Cup."

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Source: Team_Talk

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