What Were They Thinking?!

By Gemma Mcdonald | February 2nd, 2010 5 Comments

Togo reserve goalkeeper wounded

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned Togo from the next two African Nations Cup tournaments and also imposed a $50,000 fine. “This decision is outrageous,” said Togo captain and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor to the French newspaper L’Equipe on Sunday.

Togo returned home from the Nations Cup two days before the kickoff after two members of its delegation were killed in a terrorist attack on January 8 in Cabinda. CAF’s reason for punishing the victims is that it views the Togolese government’s decision to recall the team as ‘political interference’ in football affairs. The Togolese government intends to fight what it called the ‘insulting’ sanctions.

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Gerard Akindes

February 3rd, 2010 | 8:47 am    

CAF is totally out of touch with African reality.
A such Imbecile decision is hard to believe specially in Africa.
Emperor Hayatou seems to not have any common sense and humanity.
We could explain, for financial stakes, the poor management of the Togolese attack by CAF communication office. But this cold application of a law or rule is hard to understand. CAF is trying to emulate FIFA’s absurdity suggesting that government shouldn’t be involved in football affairs.
Who pays for the national teams’ coaches and other logistical expenses? Who pays for the unreasonably high broadcasting rights? Who build the facilities and organizes the CAN?

Governments in Africa are to be blamed for many many things but without them no CAN, no CAF, no World Cup in South Africa.

The ridiculous decision by CAF to ban and fine Togo is a symbol of a “malmodernization” of African sport squeezed between the neo-liberal model in place in the US and Europe since the 90s and the political and socio-economic realities of sport in Africa. Governments are still the main stakeholder of African elite sport. The private model does not hold.

Alex Galarza

February 3rd, 2010 | 3:41 pm    

This is an excellent illustration of the absurdity of football’s governing bodies. I shared this story with a friend who asked how such a decision was possible. In their mind, there had to be a rational explanation for such an irrational equation (Team attacked by terrorists = banned from competition)

I began to break down the precedents set by FIFA for interference in national team affairs with the recent example in Chile and FIFA’s threat to ban them from the world cup. (http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE5AP32X20091126)

After a tortured explanation of the dynamics of FIFA’s power in governing domestic disputes, The mental gymnastics required to justify CAF’s actions in the Togo case are amazing. Incredibly, Hayatou can extend his condolences while cynically banning Togo to maintain the CAF’s procedural ‘integrity’.


July 23rd, 2010 | 2:15 am    

Sports Quiz for Western Media (after Cabinda attack) by Zapiro:



August 5th, 2010 | 1:47 am    

Togo’s ban is outrageous:



December 7th, 2010 | 3:04 am    

Bad crazy stories from Togo continued well into 2010. My favorite is the “fake” national team going to play an international match in Bahrain. Details and some context here:


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