Togolese soccer team returns home after angola attack

Togolese Soccer Team Returns Home After Angola Attack

Soccer Betting- Togo’s national soccer squad returned home from the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Angola late yesterday following an attack by gunmen on the team bus that killed three people.

The players arrived in Lome, the capital, on board a government-chartered plane that had been sent to the northern Angolan province of Cabinda, the Togolese government said on its Web site. Prime Minister Gilbert Foussoun Houngbo had told the team to come home after the shootings.

The team bus came under machine-gun fire on Jan. 8 just after it had crossed the border from the Republic of Congo into Cabinda. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, Angola’s main separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed the driver, Togo’s assistant coach and the squad’s press officer. Togo’s reserve goalkeeper, Kodjovi Obilale, is recovering after being flown to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he had emergency surgery.

“The medical team is satisfied with the progress of Mr. Obilale,” Netcare Ltd., operator of the Milpark Hospital, said in a statement handed to reporters today. “He will however remain in the trauma intensive care unit until he is fully out of danger.”

Obilale was admitted to the hospital on Jan. 9 with a bullet wound in his lower back. He will remain on a ventilator for the “next couple of days,” Ken Boffard, who assisted in the surgery on Obilale, told reporters today.

Guerilla War

Cabindan separatists, led by FLEC, have been fighting a secessionist guerrilla war since Angola became independent from Portugal in 1975. The province, which is situated between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo on Africa’s west coast, is physically separate from Angola. It generates most of the 1.9 million barrels of oil a day that is pumped in Angola, Africa’s second-biggest crude producer after Nigeria.

Angola has arrested two suspects in connection with the attack, Agence France-Presse said, citing state media.

South African President Jacob Zuma said the attack in Angola had “no bearing” on the soccer World Cup that his country will host in June and July. Zuma traveled to Angola yesterday to attend the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Questions raised over the safety of this year’s soccer World Cup in South Africa after the attack in Angola reflect “double standards,” Danny Jordaan, head of the organizing committee for the event, said, according to the Johannesburg- based Business Day newspaper.

“Explain Ourselves”

“It seems there is an agenda to give the impression that South Africa cannot host this world cup,” the Johannesburg- based newspaper quoted Jordaan as saying. “Why are we being asked to explain ourselves when the incident took place in another country thousands of kilometers away?”

Questions weren’t raised about the security of sporting events in Europe after terrorist attacks in London and in other cities on the continent, he said, according to the newspaper.

Togo was scheduled to play its first Cup game today against Ghana in Group B. Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso are the other teams in the group. Togo has asked the Confederation of African Football if it can rejoin the tournament after a three-day mourning period, Reuters said, citing Christophe Tchao, Togo’s sports minister.

Angola and Mali opened the tournament with a 4-4 draw in the capital, Luanda yesterday after the host blew a 4-0 lead with 25 minutes remaining.

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