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Safety Fears Following African Attack

From Vital England:

Following Friday's attack on the Togo team bus at the African nations, which saw members of the Togo playing and coaching staff wounded and the bus driver shot and killed, plenty of English premier league clubs have expressed their concern for the safety of their players.

A Portsmouth, who have the most players away, spokesman wants assurances that players will be safe or they feel they should return to their clubs: 'we will be asking the FA to talk to FIFA to ensure the players' safety. That is paramount, and if the players' safety can't be ensured, then the players should be sent home.'

While Man City issued a statement passing on their condolences to the bus drivers family, also confirming that Emmanuel Adebayor was not injured but they too want answers as to what will happen next: 'Manchester City can confirm that striker Emmanuel Adebayor is uninjured after this afternoon's attack on the Togo team bus in Angola.

'Club officials have spoken with Adebayor and, though shaken by the terrible events, he is unharmed.

'The club would like to send its condolences to the family of the driver and sends best wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.

'We are currently in talks with the Football Association over what may happen next.'

A third club, and like Man City, a club that had a player involved directly in the incident - Moustapha Salifou - Aston Villa also issued a statement through Martin O'Neill: 'I am really shocked to hear about this.

'Obviously I am pleased and relieved to hear that Moustapha is okay and that he is not among the injured people.

'The club have been in contact with him and he has reassured us that he is okay but he is extremely shocked and upset, which he would be in these circumstances.'

Chelsea, who also of course have players involved in the tournament, feel all precautions are being taken to insure safety: we are sure that the national teams and federations along with the authorities are taking every necessary security precaution to ensure the safety of the players and staff.'

Responding to the statements the FA has said that they are in contact with all the organisations involved and will be 'kept up to speed' with developments, this statement read: 'following the terrible attack on the Togo national team in Angola, the Football Association is in contact with various English clubs who have players involved in the African Nations Cup.

'We will continue to ensure we are kept up to speed with all developments and do all we can to assist our clubs and those players involved.

'The FA is currently contacting various organisations, including FIFA.'

Serge Akakpo, who plays for FC Vaslui in Romania was one of the player injured, and apparently badly injured - shot in the back - but is 'now out of danger.' Another of the injured players is goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale, who is 'said' to have been shot in the kidneys.

Other Togo players spoke about the attack which saw them 'machine-gunned like dogs' by the armed front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), the front who have 'claimed credit' for the attack, with one of the players, Alaixys Romao, admitting that Togo are now 'likely to pull out of the tournament' as a result: 'we're not thinking yet of what could happen.

'But it's true that no-one wants to play. We're not capable of it.

'We're thinking first of all about the health of our injured because there was a lot of blood on the ground.

'For the moment there is not much news because they have been taken to different hospitals.

'In cases like these we're thinking of those near us, of those we love because that really could have been the end of us.'

Discussions are still taking place over the continued participation in the African nations or not for Togo, but no decision has yet been made.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) insists that the African nations WILL go ahead though. CAF's communications director Souleymane Habuba said the following: 'our great concern is for the players, that's our key priority, but the championship goes ahead.

'We need to know all the facts about what's happening on the ground, we haven't got them all yet. We can't give a full reaction from reports that we have got from the media.'

Togo, unlike all the other nations involved, were the only nation travelling by road, something that Habuba says all nations were advise against so he was surprised that this route was taken: 'CAF's regulations are quite clear, teams are required to travel by air, not road.

'We had a meeting of all the teams this morning, or at least almost all of them - Togo didn't show up, and it was only later on Friday afternoon that we heard via information from the media that they had been the victims of an attack.

'But at no point were we told they were travelling by road.'

I am sure we will hear plenty more on this in the days ahead, although I am also sure that for the time being you will join me in passing on best wishes to the families of those injured, and from the drivers point of view, who was sadly killed, condolences.

Read the full article on this link - England - Safety fears following African attack.




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The Journalist

Writer: Site Staff Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 9 2010

Time: 10:31AM

Your Comments

Apparently 3 are dead now, the assistant coach and a spokesman, and Togo have officially pulled out of the ACN. Don't know if other teams will follow? I know the ACN is a nuisance to premier league clubs, but this is not the way I wanted to see it finish. And in fact, it might make some of the countries more defiant about it.
tracyc
 

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