Posted by: Home Strange Home | January 11, 2010

Bad Start to the African Cup

The African Cup of Nations, the main international football competition in Africa, got off to a very bad start this year when on Friday the 8th the Togolese team was attacked by rebels while travelling by bus through Cabinda, the oil-rich province of northern Angola.  Cabinda is separated from the rest of Angola by a narrow strip of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the south and is bordered by the Republic of Congo to the north.  Cabinda has suffered from separatist action in the past, with some groups wishing to proclaim an independent Republic of Cabinda.  

The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), the main separatist group, has claimed responsibility for the 30-minute attack on Friday, in which the Togolese team bus was fired upon and three people were killed (an Angolan driver, the assistant coach, and a team spokesman) and eight were wounded.  That said, there has been some inconsistency and disagreement between the announcements by Angolan and Togolese government officials on exactly how many people were injured and killed.  The Togolese team had been driving from their base in the Republic of Congo; the Angola government later expressed surprise that they chose to drive through Cabinda rather than fly to Angola.  However, Togo says that Angola did not warn them of potential dangers in Cabinda. 

After the attack, the Togolese players wanted to stay in Angola and play in the Cup, but the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, put in a call to the Captain of the Togo team, Emmanuel Adebayor, and the decision was taken to withdraw Togo from the African Cup for security reasons.  The players flew home to Togo while the tournament officially opened on Sunday.  However, there is a possibility the team may return; Togo’s sports minister lobbied the Confederation of African (CAF) football to allow them return after the three days of mourning, but it appears CAF has taken a final decision to exclude them.  All the back-and-forth changing of positions may have more to do with politics than practicalities.  It is still unclear what will happen. 

The African Cup was first held in 1957 and has been held every two years since 1968.  The 2010 competition will go ahead, including six matches scheduled to take place in Cabinda.  The incident is likely to spark further debate as to whether the 2010 World Cup taking place in South Africa this summer will be safe and run smoothly. 



  1. […] province of Angola, hit international headlines during the African Cup of Nations in January. The shooting and killing of three members of the Togolese football team by the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: