10 Jan 2010

Togo footballers now say they will play tournament

9:47 pm on 10 January 2010

Players in Togo's football team now say they will play in the African Nations Cup despite a deadly attack on Friday.

The French newspaper [L'Equipe] quoted Alaixys Romao as saying the team had agreed unanimously to stay in the tournament and would not leave like cowards.

An assistant coach, press officer and driver were killed in Friday's attack and two players were shot and wounded.

The BBC reports that Togo has demanded Angola explain why it was not warned of the dangers of travel in Cabinda, where the bus was ambushed.

On Saturday, Togo government spokesman Pascal Bodjona said the players were returning home because they were in a state of shock.

"We cannot in such a dramatic circumstance continue in the Africa Cup of Nations," he told reporters.

The tournament's organisers held an emergency meeting and said games would be played as scheduled in the province of Cabinda, where the attack happened.

Cabinda is separated from the rest of Angola by the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A separatist group called FLEC, which has been waging a campaign for independence for Cabinda for three decades, has claimed responsibility.