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Togo to play on - Players

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10 Jan 2010 07:53:00

Togo to play on - Players

Uncertainty surrounds Togo's plans for the African Nations Cup after reports claimed the players had voted to continue in the tournament despite an earlier decision to withdraw following the armed attack on Friday.

The Hawks had decided to pull out of the tournament in Angola as the death toll from the attack reportedly rose to three. Togo's team bus came under machine gun fire on Friday just after it had crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo into the Angolan enclave of Cabinda. Togo were due to face Ghana in their opening Group B match in Cabinda, but the nation's government decided to withdraw the team.

- African Nations Cup home

Togo government spokesperson Pascal Bodjona told reporters: "We can't continue in these dramatic circumstances in the African Nations Cup. It was necessary because our players are in shock."

However, the players seem to be of a different mind with midfielder Alaixys Romao and forward Thomas Dossevi both revealing the team's intent to stay on in memory of the dead and injured.

Romao told L'Equipe: "We have all just met and we will be on the pitch to play against Ghana on Monday."

The Grenoble player added: "People died for this African Nations Cup, others were injured. We cannot abandon them and go like cowards. If we stay here it is for them. But also so as not to satisfy the rebels.

"Our government does not necessarily agree with us but we are all determined to play in this tournament. The decision was taken unanimously."

Dossevi concurred, saying: "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."

When contacted in the early hours, a spokesman for the African Football Federation (CAF) could not confirm the reports, saying: "I don't know, I am not aware so far. I've not heard any communication."


PA

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