Emmanuel Adebayor: Togo players may quit after Angola gun attack

08 January 2010 11:11
The Manchester City striker, who revealed the terrifying attack en route to the team's base in the Cabinda province lasted 30 minutes, will convene a team meeting as captain tonight at which the squad will discuss whether they stay in Angola or return to their clubs.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "I think a lot of players want to leave, I don't think they want to be at this tournament any more because they have seen their death already.

 Related ArticlesTogo: we cannot play after this bloodshedTogo team attacked by rebels in AngolaOil-rich sliver of land a hotbed for bloody conflictTogo attack: Premier League clubs reactIan Chadband: attack is a nightmare vision of sport's future"Most of the players want to go back to their family. No-one can sleep after what they have seen today. They have seen one of their team-mates have a bullet in his body, who is crying, who is losing consciousness and everything.

"So we will have a good meeting tonight, everyone will go to their room, they will rest and we will see tomorrow morning we will make a decision which is good for our life."

Adebayor added: "We are still in shock. If the security is not sure then we will be leaving tomorrow. I don't think they will be ready to give their life.

"We will discuss everything as a team and we will take a decision that we think is good for our career, is good for our life and good for our family."

Adebayor went on to recount what happened when the team bus reached the border between DR Congo and Angola.

He said: "We saw military people dressed like they were going to war and it was a little bit of a shock at the beginning, but I thought 'okay, it's for security which is normal, because we are players here for a big tournament and we are like ambassadors for Africans so it's normal that security is big'.

"We went through the border and got into Angola and, I don't know, 5km away from the border we started hearing shooting on the bus, for no reason. At the end of the day we got a lot of (people) injured.

"One of our second goalkeepers got a bullet in his body. Our press and communications guy has got injured; he's not even conscious now, we don't know if he's going to survive or not.

"These are the things we keep saying, keep repeating - in Africa we have to change our image if we want to be respected but unfortunately that's not happening.

"We have a chance with one of the biggest tournaments in the world, the World Cup. Can you imagine what's happening now? I'm disgraced and, I don't know, it's unfair."

Adebayor hailed the security who were trying to protect the team.

"To be honest without the security then I would not be here talking. Maybe you would be talking to my dead body. The security have done their job quite well," he told the BBC World Service.

"The thing we don't understand is why they shot on our bus, that's the question now. There's no-one who has got a reason for that. It's not only one guy, or two guys shooting one time or two times on our bus.

"Can you imagine, we have been in the middle of that for 30 minutes, even a little bit more. Our bus had been stopped and people had been shooting on our bus for 30 minutes.

"If you can imagine, the silence on the bus was unbelievable."

Adebayor did not know whether the attack was personally aimed at him, as one of Africa's most high-profile players, or his country in general.

He added: "I don't know whether I am the target or not, but I know my team or my country is the target - why, I don't know.

"We waited in hiding for 30 minutes because the bus had nowhere to go. Our driver was dead. He had the steering wheel in his hand but he had passed away. After that there were about seven or eight 4x4s arriving and we had to go out from the bus and climb into that car.

Following the journey to the hospital, Adebayor was involved in helping carry his injured team-mates and federation staff from their transport to the hospital.

"It was like we were still living in a dream," Adebayor added.

"I was one of the people who had to carry the injured players and injured staff into the hospital. Those are the times that you realise what is happening really.

"Everyone was crying and calling their family, I think this was the worst moment of this day. I am still in shock because I don't know whether it has really stopped or not or if we are still a target."

Serge Akakpo and Kodjovi Obilale were confirmed by their clubs as the players injured in the attack.

Fifa also released a statement speaking of their concern about the attack.

"Fifa and its President, Joseph S. Blatter, are deeply moved by today's incidents which affected Togo's national team, to whom they express their utmost sympathy," said the statement.

"Fifa is in touch with the African Football Confederation (CAF) and its President, Issa Hayatou, from which it expects a full report on the situation."

CAF have initially insisted that the tournament will go ahead as planned, though any withdrawal from Togo will clearly cause a huge logistical problem.

The FA are contacting Fifa to gain reassurance for English clubs who have players involved in the tournament.

Portsmouth said in a statement tonight: "We will be asking the FA to talk to Fifa to ensure the players' safety. That is paramount, and if the players' safety can't be ensured, then the players should be sent home."

Aston Villa have also confirmed their midfielder Moustapha Salifou is "shaken but okay" following the attack after managing to make contact with the 26-year-old's brother.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill told his club's official website, http://www.avfc.co.uk: "I am really shocked to hear about this.

"Obviously I am pleased and relieved to hear that Moustapha is okay and that he is not among the injured people.

"The club have been in contact with him and he has reassured us that he is okay but he is extremely shocked and upset, which he would be in these circumstances."

Source: Telegraph