The latest twist in the on-going saga in Angola is that Togo will be disqualified from the African Nations Cup finals if they do not show up for yesterday’s Group B African Nations Cup match against Ghana in Cabinda.

Togo’s opponents Ghana have been told to proceed as if the match, scheduled to kick off at 20h30 SA time was still going ahead, even though Togo left Angola on Sunday evening to return home following the deadly attack on their team bus last week.

“We have not heard anything official from them. They have never officially told us they are not going to play or they are going to play. We are only hearing from them in the media,” a senior CAF official told Reuters on Monday.
“The referee has been ordered to start the match and if Togo are not there, then they will be declared to have withdrawn and be disqualified.”

It is not clear whether Ghana will have to go through the pretence of preparing for the match and taking to the pitch. A decision will be made closer to the kickoff, the official said.

Today’s Group B match in Cabinda was scheduled as the second part of a double header. Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast play the first match at the new Chazi Stadium in Cabinda at 16h00GMT.

CAF’s statement on contact with Togo officials contradicts an earlier report in which Togo’s Sports Minister said he had lobbied CAF to allow the team to take part after three days of mourning, saying he still believed it is was possible that they could rejoin the tournament.

“The players left with the bodies of their fallen brothers and we have asked CAF to find an arrangement so we can catch up with the competition later,” he stated.

The CAF official told Reuters today said that it would be impossible to change the tournament schedule, however, many observers in Angola believe things could have been re-arranged to accommodate the Togolese.

“It might have meant that the last group matches could not have been played simultaneously. It may have been that the television schedules would have to change or that the players played more often than they are used to.

“None of these obstacles would have been insurmountable,” says BBC’s Russel Fuller who is covering the event in Luanda.


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