2013 Cup of Nations Preview: Togo
In the last few months, misfortune reared up and bit Didier Six right on his backside. Not only were his side dealt the group of death, but he had to manage the lead-up to the Cup of Nations without three of his best players. Alaixys Romao and Kossi Agassa threatened to follow Emmanuel Adebayor into international retirement after financial disputes with the Togolese FA forced the former Arsenal man to hang his international boots. A fortnight after a 1-0 win in Casablanca, Adebayor accused his national FA of corruption as he and his team-mates had not been paid their dues. Adebayor said:
‘I asked the Moroccan Federation how much they paid our Togolese FA. They told me that they paid €35,000 to President Ameyi.
”The president has the money because the Moroccan FA will not lie to me. If this continues, then no one will play for others to fill their pockets.’
Though it may seem a petty squabble, the lanky striker might be basing his complaint on more than mere cash. According to our non-official calculations, Adebayor would have pocketed a feeble 1,500 Euros from Togo’s 1-0 win in Morocco; a hundredth of what he earned in a week at Eastlands. What really irritated Ade was the corruption and incompetence of his country’s federation and it was the nation itself that was paying for it.
Adebayor went so far as to claim that his team-mates had asked him for money:
‘Some players have not received their money, some have received half of it. Players come to me to ask about their money. It is a shame.’
You can imagine the disruption and negative vibes such a conversation would incur.
Will He or Won’t He?
Despite protestations from the country’s prime trio, FA President Ameyi remained steadfast in his assertions that all three would be present by the ninth of January. The manager, Didier Six, resorted to a less optimistic position – cautiously hopeful. It took presidential intervention, but after plenty of hesitation and injury scares, Kossi Agassa, Alaixys Romao and Sheyi Adebayor all finally agreed to take part in proceedings.
The Rest of the Crew
It’s perhaps unfair on the rest of the Togolese squad who have been overshadowed by the ongoing player-federation saga. There are still very respectable talents at Didier Six’s disposal. Among them former French U21 internationals Razak Boukari and Serge Gakpe, and brothers Jonathan and Floyd Ayite who ply their trade in Ligue 1.
Manager: Didier Six
As far as experienced managers go, Didier Six is at the top. The former Nice midfielder has amassed over 40 years of managerial experience in Europe and Africa. He`ll need every ounce of his attained wisdom to guide his fragile squad out of the Group of Death – a virtually impossible task.
Key man: Emmanuel Adebayor
There can only be one: Emmanuel Adebayor. If Togo advance, he’ll be hailed a miracle-worker, if not, Sheyi will be lambasted as a troublemaker. A burdening responsibility for the former Gunner.
One to watch: Kossi Agassa
In a camp of turmoil, Kossi Agassa’s experience will prove vital helping Togo settle into a rhythm. The silent leader tends to be discreet, but his teammates say the listen when he has something to say. Having already played a World Cup (2006) and two African Cup of Nations, his compatriots will look his way for guidance in the impossible Group D.
Group stage exit.
Some mistakes in the lineup: Mamah’s the LB, Mango didn’t make the team, and Boukari is out for the tournament. So Dove Wome or Gakpe will probably start for Boukari. Nibombe or Bossou could be the other CB.
Ah, thanks for the correction. Incredibly difficult to obtain information on this team. I even think the Togo FA website had Mango in the 23 when I released the article, and I did mean to put Gakpe in for Boukari that must have been a brain fart. Will make those changes now!