Angola: Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor said his country might withdraw from the African Nations Cup in Angola after gunmen opened fire on the team bus on Friday.
The bus driver was killed and nine people were wounded, including two players, after the bus came under attack as it entered the Angolan enclave of Cabinda.
“As the captain of my national team I can say that if the security is not sure then perhaps we will be leaving tomorrow (Saturday),” the Manchester City striker told BBC World Service.
“It is a football game and one of the biggest tournaments in Africa but I don’t think people are ready to give their lives.
“I will talk with my team and we will take a decision that is good for our careers, our lives and our families. At the end of the day, it’s only football.
“A lot of players want to leave. They have seen death and want to go back to their families.”
The 25-year-old former Arsenal striker said the bus came under attack for 30 minutes.
“They shot dead our driver, there was no-one to drive the bus,” he added.
“It was like we were living in a dream. I’m still under shock.
“I am one of those who carried the injured players into the hospital, that is when I realised what was really going on.
“All the players, everyone, was crying, calling their mums, crying on the phone, saying their last words because they thought they’d be dead,” he said.
The separatist group the Front for the Liberation of Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) claimed responsibility for the attack, which happened two days before the start of the African Nations Cup and five months before the World Cup finals in South Africa.
“We keep repeating (that) Africa, we have to change our image if we want to be respected and, unfortunately, that is not happening,” added Adebayor.
“We have a chance to organise... one of the biggest tournaments in this world which is the World Cup, and can you imagine what is happening now? I’m very disgraced and for me ... it’s unfair.”
Before the Nations Cup, Adebayor had played down the dangers of visiting Cabinda and even said he was looking forward to the prospect of travelling to the Angolan enclave.
“We were born in Africa so we know what it’s about,” he told reporters on Dec. 7.
“Some people might be afraid which is normal, I can understand that. But I’m going back to Africa, to one of the countries on my continent, and I’m prepared for Cabinda. I will enjoy myself.
“African nations are getting better and better. We can’t be like France, England or America tomorrow.
“Angola had a big, big war but today everybody is getting along better. They have good organisation and we hope everyone will enjoy it and come back safely.”
First Published: Saturday, January 09, 2010, 09:43