Togo pulls out of Africa football cup
Updated on 09 January 2010
The Togo government says it will pull its team out of the African Cup of Nations in Angola after gunmen attacked their bus yesterday.
A Togo government minister confirmed the decision following the attack in which three of their party were killed.
The squad was crossing under police escort from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they had been based, into the disputed Angolan territory of Cabinda, where they were to play their first match on Monday, when separatist rebels attacked the convoy.
The coach driver was killed instantly and the team's assistant manager and press officer have since died from their wounds.
Of the nine injured the reserve goalkeeper, who was flown into Johannesburg for emergency treatment earlier, is thought to be in the worst condition.
Togo's bus was six miles into Angola's northern province of Cabinda when it came under attack. "We were machine-gunned like dogs," said one passenger.
The fight between the Rebels and the police guard lasted half an hour.
The tournament's organisers claim the Togo team did not say they were travelling by road rather than air. It has left the other teams set to compete with a very difficult decision to make. The Mozambique squad boarding a flight to Angola earlier choose to take the risk.
This is a crushing blow for the Angolan hosts, who hoped the African Cup of Nations would show how far their country has progressed since the end of the decades long civil war, and they are desperate for other teams to stay and play.
This was supposed to be a celebratory year for the whole continent with the World Cup in South Africa just five months away.
Togo captain, and Manchester City striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, who was on the coach but unharmed, has been told by his club that he will be given as much time as needed to recover from the attack.
There are 23 Premier League footballers competing. Their Managers have said they want them home if it is not safe.
Togo's players have spent the day trying to arrange a flight home. Ghana are also officially re-considering whether to play. If either of them leaves the tournament would be over before it has even begun.