31 Jan 2010

Togo footballers given Africa cup ban

11:47 am on 31 January 2010

Togo plans to appeal against its ban from the next two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, imposed because it withdrew from the current competition in Angola due to an attack on its players.

A Togolese assistant coach and a press officer were killed along with their coach driver in the ambush in northern Angola, which occurred two days before the start of the tournament.

The Confederation of African football also fined the team $US50,000 for quitting the competition, the BBC reports.

The confederation said the decision to withdraw the team amounted to governmental interference in the sport.

Togo's sports minister Christophe Tchao told Reuters the country would use all legal means to enforce its rights.

The Hawks initially wanted to compete in Group B with Ivory Coast, Ghana and Burkina Faso, but quit on 10 January - the tournament's start date - on their national government's orders.

World football governing body Fifa declined to comment on the ban.

Togo midfielder Thomas Dossevi, who was on the bus when it came under fire said the ban was unjustified.

"We are a group of footballers who came under fire and now we can't play football any more. They are crushing us," Dossevi was quoted by the BBC as saying.