The Shooting of Togolese Footballers

Adeola Aderounmu

I read with dismay the unfortunate shooting of Togolese Footballers as their entourage were driving through Cabinda to reach Angola.

If I was one of the footballers I would been long gone, home!

I mean they could all have been dead by now if they were seated in the first bus. The driver of the bus was killed but they were lucky to be in the bus coming behind. Still one or two players got bullets embedded in their bodies and losing consciousness.

This is very frightening. The Angola Government and the Angola Football Federation has not tried at all. What kind of nonsense and stupidity is this?

Why was there no warning of war or rebellion in parts of Angola or Cabinda? This is completely unacceptable in a world now dominated by terrorist activities. Yes terror and the fear of it has gripped the world whether we like it or not. This is why we now have to be stripped naked by machines especially if we are travelling to the US.

The Angola Government and the Football Federation, even CAF has a lot to explain to the world and to the Togolese especially. This could have been a much more devasting tragedy. It is still a serious tragedy because someone has been killed for no fault of his.

The terrorists who carried out this devilish act deserved to be hunted and captured by all or any means possible. What is the crime of the Togolese players that they made them the target? Absolute nonsense and unacceptable act of war on innocent people plying their trade and flying the flag of Togo.

Like I wrote earlier, I would be long gone if I survived such an attack. Morally and psychologically I would not find the strength to play any stupid game when my teammate is down injured and my driver is dead. If Togo goes ahead to feature in this African Cup of Nation Tournament, I wish them luck but they deserve a break from it-if only to send a strong signal that security is not a joking matter when you are a visitor of a certain government.

Angola has let African down not because they attack actually took place but because it didn’t provide any warning system that there are terrorists within its territory. Angola has failed even before the kick off because an entire entourage could have been massacred. If that has happened I am sure we will be talking about a cancellation of the entire tournament by now.

Well let this serve as a good lesson for nations all over the world. Give early signals and warn visitors to your country of the type of terrorists that you habour and the areas to avoid. The Togolese team was driving from Congo to Angola and it seems the the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is now shifting blame that the team should have flown (by air). Lame excuse! CAF should just accept responsibility for its failure rather than make useless comments at this time that Togo is experiencing pain and sorrow.

There is no point trying to paint the condition of perfection when your country is under siege from within by terrorists or rebels. Make is open, give warnings, offer maximum protection and provide adequate security that will avert the unnecessary lose of lives and property.

My greatest sympathy to the Togolese Team in the African Cup of Nation. To Nigerian-born Emmanuel Seyi Adebayor and his teammates I send my condolence for the lose of your driver. Surely the siege is over but the shock will stay for a long time. If you decide to play, we will understand if you don’t play your hearts out. Whatever happens, we have all learnt a new lesson, like we do everyday, and football is just another kind of sports. It should never be a do-or-die event and the earlier the perpetrators of this ugly event are captured and prosecuted the better for the global village.

___________________-

(The death toll has increased to 3: an assistant coach and the press officer are now dead from their injuries). Some players are receiving treatment and a goalkeeper is undergoing surgery in South Africa.

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