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Togo’s National Football Team Attacked by Gunmen

On 8 January 2010, Togo’s national football team was on their way to the African Cup of Nations tournament in Angola, when their bus was attacked by gunmen. When the firing came to a halt, it emerged that the team’s assistant coach, press official and the bus driver had been killed.

Adebayor
Adebayor

Some of the players were injured, among them the team’s goalkeeper. News was scarce after the incident and European football clubs instantly started worrying about their top players. In Norway the sports director in Strømsgodset, Jostein Flo, was concerned about their midfielder Komlan Amewou. However, it eventually appeared that most of the players were not injured as they were seated in the back of the bus. Komlan Amewou and Manchester City’s striker Emmanuel Adebayor were physically unhurt, but in the clip below you can listen to how the attack affected the famous Manchester City player.


Soon after the tragic incident a rebel group fighting for their region’s independence from Angola, admitted to carrying out the attack. Togo’s national football team pulled out of the tournament. What happened to the Togolese players clearly overshadowed the opening of the Cup of Nations, which was originally regarded as a showpiece for African football. In June 2010, South Africa, as the first African country ever, is going to host the World Cup. Once again the issue of safety in the forthcoming tournament is being raised as a result of the gunfire in Angola.

Emmanuel Adebayor’s account of what happened when gunmen attacked the team bus.

Comprehension – True or false?

  1. Togo’s national football team was hit in a bomb attack.
  2. The players were targeted by a group that want independence from Angola.
  3. Komlan Amewou is Stømsgodset’s striker
  4. Emmanuel Adebayor claimed that the attack lasted 30 minutes
  5. Togo’s team decided to pull out of the African Cup of Nations
  6. Because of the incident, Fifa has decided to cancel the World Cup in South Africa
  7. South Africa is the first country in Africa to host the World Cup
  8. Togo hosts the 2010 African Cup of Nations
Key
  1. Togo’s national football team was hit in a bomb attack. (F)
  2. The players were targeted by a group that want independence from Angola. (T)
  3. Komlan Amewou is Stømsgodset’s striker (F)
  4. Emmanuel Adebayor claimed that the attack lasted 30 minutes (T)
  5. Togo’s team decided to pull out of the African Cup of Nations (T)
  6. Because of the incident, Fifa has decided to cancel the World Cup in South Africa (F)
  7. South Africa is the first country in Africa to host the World Cup (T)
  8. Togo hosts the 2010 African Cup of Nations (F)

Discussion

  1. Do you feel it was correct to pull Togo’s national football team out of the tournament.
  2. The terrorists got a lot of media attention, just like they planned on. Should coverage of these types of attacks be played down in world media to prevent focus on terror groups? If yes - is this at all possible to achieve?
  3. Why do you think that the World Cup in 2010 is the first cup ever to be arranged on African soil?
  4. Do you feel that football plays an important role in creating understanding and respect across borders and cultural barriers?
  5. Why is football so extremely popular all over the world?
  6. Football is called a very democratic sport that can be played wherever by whoever whenever. Do you agree?
  7. Would you like to see more or less football on TV?
  8. Which sport do you prefer yourself?


Further research (Suggested sites listed below):

  1. Jot down facts about Togo (location, population, main language, government, colonial history)
  2. Read about Togo’s national team. How does its history differ from any other national European team?
  3. How do you like the presentation of the World Cup in South Africa on Fifa’s official website? Describe.
  4. Which African country tops the list of attendance to the Men’s World Cup Finals and which country is considered best when it comes to African national teams?
  5. Jot down the names of the three best African players of the century. Which are their native countries?

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