Lomé : Togo are hoping Emmanuel Adebayor will return to international football for the first time in almost two years when they start their World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday.
But despite a call to the Tottenham Hotspur striker from the Togo Football Federation president this week, and assurance of his interest, it is still far from clear whether the small west African country`s most charismatic footballer will play.
"The president of the FTF, Gabriel Ameyi, had a long discussion on the telephone yesterday with him. The probability is strong that he will play in the match against Guinea Bissau," the official Togo government website said on Tuesday.
Togo, surprise qualifiers for the World Cup in Germany in 2006 but now forced to play in the early knockout round because of their lowly ranking, are away in Bissau in the first leg on Friday and host the return in Lome next Tuesday.
If they win they advance to Group I with Cameroon, Libya and the winner of another first-round tie between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Swaziland.
The 27-year-old Adebayor, on loan at Tottenham from Manchester City, retired from internationals after the last African Nations Cup finals in Angola where Togo`s team bus was attacked on the eve of the tournament.
Separatists in the enclave of Cabinda shot at the bus, killing two delegation members and badly injuring the goalkeeper. Togo withdrew from the Nations Cup before it kicked off and a shaken Adebayor announced the end of his international career soon after.
There have been several previous attempts to get him to change his mind, all of which have failed.