Caf say time is up for Togo

African football chiefs tell Togo they must play Ghana in Cabinda to stay in contest.

    Angola and Mali hold a silence ahead of their opening match in Luanda [AFP]

    Togo will be disqualified from the Africa Cup of Nations finals if they do not show up for their Group B match against Ghana in Cabinda, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said.

    Ghana have been told to proceed as if the match, scheduled to kick off at 18.30 GMT on Monday, was still going ahead, even though Togo left Angola on Sunday evening to return home following the deadly attack on their team bus last week.

    "We have not heard anything official from them. They have never officially told us they are not going to play or they are going to play. We are only hearing from them in the media," a senior CAF official said on Monday.

    "The referee has been ordered to start the match and if Togo are not there, then they will be declared to have withdrawn and be disqualified."

    Pretence

    It is not clear whether Ghana will have to go through the pretence of preparing for the match and taking to the pitch.

    A decision will be made closer to the kickoff, the official said.

    The Togo squad departed the tournament on Sunday after Friday's attack on their team bus.

    Their assistant coach and press officer were killed and reserve goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale seriously wounded by separatists from the enclave of Cabinda.

    Togo left on a chartered flight sent to collect them after the attack but had expressed the hope they might be able to return and compete at the Nations Cup.

    Several players spoke of their willingness to play on at the tournament but Togo's government said it had ordered them home.

    Captain Emmanuel Adebayor said at Cabinda airport that Togo might come back and attempt to play their Group B fixtures.

    The CAF official, however, said that it would be impossible to change the tournament schedule.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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